You Can’t Want What You Don’t Understand
The other day I was in conversation with a COO who was complaining about his sales team not performing.
“They just don’t want it bad enough,” he told me. “I wanted it so much more when I was selling.”
We talked and he could see that his sales people were coming from a ‘victim’ place. They were complaining about circumstances (the irony of the COO being a victim by complaining about his sales team’s victimhood did not escape me, but I choose not to go there).
He could see that when he was in sales, he came from an ‘owner’ place. He created what he wanted instead of complaining about what wasn’t working.
I asked him how he was going to empower his team to be owners.
“They don’t want to be owners,” he said.
“How the…do you know that?” I snapped, biting back an f-bomb.
“They just don’t or they would be owners already.”
“That’s bullshit. Have you considered the possibility that they don’t know the difference between being an owner and a victim?”
What I shared with him is that he had a distinction they don’t have. He had a conscious understanding of the difference between two ways of being.
Furthermore, I had him see that a conscious understanding of difference is required before someone can want something.
“You can’t want what you don’t understand,” I said.
His eyes glazed over and our conversation fell silent.
I could see that he was seeing how not wanting it bad enough wasn’t really the problem. The real problem was that his team – his people – didn’t consciously understand the difference between being an owner and a victim.
If and when they could really see this difference, they were almost certain to want to be an ‘owner’.
But first they needed to see it. And so he knew exactly what he needed to do.
- What are your people not wanting bad enough right now?
- What distinction are they missing that would give them enough perspective to want something else?
- How are you creating this – how are you stopping them from having that distinction?