December 10; Who Is The Most Important Person In A Relationship?
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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December 10

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.

Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.

Philippians 2:3

Who Is The Most Important Person In A Relationship?

Empathy

Your Business Professor at NYC Stern School of Business

Your Business Professor at NYC Stern School of Business

Your Business Professor was conducting a sales training class. I had all the information: product knowledge, sales techniques, company policy. I had all the answers–until.

Until people started asking me questions. Direct, pointed challenges.  The questions were about the soft people skills like, “what if the prospect just doesn’t like you…?”  He was being diplomatic.

I didn’t have a clue. I wondered, “To like…?”

Who cares?

The questioner was attempting to make a point. It was me he didn’t like. My common brand of expert arrogance was hard to like. And he wasn’t buying what I was selling.

I didn’t know what I was doing and no one wanted to listen to me teach about what I didn’t know.

Your Amateur Sales Trainer suffered from an enlarged sense of self. I had no genuine feelings, little empathy for my attendees. As one wag said, “Ego is a strange affliction. It makes everyone sick except the one who has it.”

***

I had to learn that the first step in the sales process was to establish rapport with the customer. My needs didn’t matter. It was only the client and what the client needed and wanted that mattered.

I didn’t decide the value of my product. The customer decided.

So. The customer was first. And the first thing I had to change was my point of view and my language.

The first person pronouns had to go. I had to be careful of the, “I” “Me” and “Mine.”

“I” didn’t count. Only “You” mattered. The second person pronoun comes first.

This is the conflict: between confidence and competence; between ego and offending.

This is a common characteristic beyond know-it-all academics. Leaders in great positions of responsibility often live in their own worlds of their own counsel. But, as neuroscientist James Fallon notes,

We…need individuals with narcissism, because to have the energy to be a leader you’ve got to be full of yourself. Who the [heck] else would want to be a president or CEO if they really knew what it involved?

You need heavy egotism and a lot of glibness and a bit of [nonsense] to aspire to that kind of work and to do it well. (Fallon 2013) p 218.

So how much self-centered self-absorption is too much even for the CEO of the Free World? We had clues as President Obama began governing.   Psychoanalyst Stanley Renshon, Ph.D., writes in Commentary magazine,

Asked after the presidential campaign about the best advice he had received while running, Obama replied, “Well, I have to say it was the advice that I gave to myself.”

Productivity expert Laura Stack points us to wisdom from Irish poet Oliver Goldsmith who said, “People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy.”

Writer Paula Bolyard notes that Obama had referred to himself 133 times in a 33 minute speech.  Reporter Terry Jeffery writes that Obama used the first person singular 199 times in a 40 minute speech.

Correspondent T. Becket Adams reports that Obama is a president who is judged more incompetent than Jimmy Carter.

***

In my small training groups I now ask each attendee what they want from the seminar, and not just what I want to teach    In my early days these ‘wants’ might intersect.

But now I know that what I want to say has to meet the needs of my listeners.  I no longer think that everyone needs exactly the same advice.  Everyone has different needs.   And that’s more important than me.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3

###

In Search of Greatness, Stanley Renshon, Commentary, July/August 2014, page 47.

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