Saturday, July 24, 2010

I did it this way. So can you. (The 6% Solution)

Amazing how many times people in corner offices tell this (see subject line) to their subordinates.

Amazing how many times they ridicule time-tested marketing strategies by saying, "When I was building my book of business, I didn't need spreadsheets, social media, etc."

Their point: Do what I did and you will succeed. Do anything else and you are lazy or a time-waster.

I call this The 6% Solution. Read on to learn why.

There have been lots of blog posts explaining why a "Do as I did and you'll get what I got" approach isn't a winning game plan. They all boil down to:
1) 'Cause I'm not you. Correct.
2) Times have changed. Also correct.

But let's take a fresh approach:

Game 1: Pick a stock. Now send 'buy' and 'sell' notes to 32 people. You'll get 16 right. Pick another stock. Send 'buy' and 'sell' notes to the 16 people who received your 'correct' pick last time. Repeat for the 8 you got 'right' this time. Repeat, again, for the 4 lucky people. You will now have 2 people (from the original 32) that have received four correct picks in a row.

Game 2: Pick 32 random Associates or Managers. In 10 years, 8 will be partners/VPs. In 15 years 4 will be firm leaders. In 20 years, 1 will be managing partner/CEO and 1 will be the top rainmaker/salesperson in the company.

See where I am going?

Sure you are talented. Sure you are good at networking, time management, and concensus-building. I am not taking any of that away from you. You fully deserve (in most cases) to be where you are. And while much was skill, it was also a numbers game. There are many people who used "your way" and failed. You think you had a special skill and you might have. But you are not helping by promoting your path as the only path.

If you look at one Manager or Associate and say, "Do what I did and you will get what I got." your odds of being right are about the same as the numbers game above. Or 6%. (1 in 16)

So... please... let us provide them with strategy, diligence and planning. Do not undermine our attempts at structure. A 6% success rate when it comes to business development/leadership planning is not good enough for us.

Oh, and one final thought: They can learn from both of us. It's not an either/or proposition.

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