I was recently invited to lunch with 2 members of an executive team who were interested in joining our public sales training program. Their company is at a size where leadership is the only face of the company, therefore, responsible for bringing in new business. I was really excited about the opportunity as we are always looking to raise the bar in our public programs, and these 2 would definitely do that.
The first question I asked them was, “Why do you think you want to join our group?” What they told me had nothing to do with sales training and everything to do with growth, leadership in a changing environment and really deciding what they want to be in the next 5-10 years.
I think joining our sales group was the only solution that came to mind. They were obviously feeling some discomfort with everything that is going on, and sales training would put them with other smart people, learning new stuff. That can feel good when things back at your office are a bit discombobulated!
So, why am I telling you this? I’m telling you because, even though I teach the inner game concepts of intent and detachment everyday, the lessons I learn in the real world never fail to slap me in the face. This is what I learned:
- Had I been attached to getting them into our sales training program I would have:
- Agreed to enroll them and then lost them as clients within a few months because, while the training is great, it isn’t solving the real problem OR
- Left before the salad arrived because they didn’t say what I wanted to hear!
- Because my intent was focused solely on helping them, the conversation, while different, was still valuable. I might not be helping them with what I had originally hoped, but now we are helping them with their entire organization—starting with the leadership.
While this story has a happy ending, staying present, detached and having my intent only on helping them allowed us to uncover things they had not even considered.