I am a runner. Sometimes, when I am out on the road, I experience what many people call a “runner’s high.” During those brief moments, when it all comes together, I feel as if I was made to run. Every thought becomes clear, every step is synchronized, and every breath is easy. In those moments, everything feels right, and I want to spend more time running.
Even if you’re not a runner, you know what I am talking about; you have felt this before. Think about the last time that everything felt so right that you wanted to spend even more time doing it. What were you doing? Whatever it was, chances are you have a natural talent for it and should do it more often!
Those “runner’s high” moments are rare. It is much more common for us to experience nearly the opposite. For me, it’s bowling. Regardless of how many hours I practice, I will never be able to compete with the pros. I could hire a professional instructor, buy an expensive bowling ball and a colorful pair of bowling shoes, and spend many hours on the lanes. But, I still won’t be invited to join the National Bowling League.
Some things do not come naturally and even with more practice, we only get more annoyed.
Talents are much like our genetic make-up. You can’t change how long your arms are or the size of your feet any more than you can change the talents you have been given. Our Consultants and Talent Analysts borrow a powerful phrase from Don Clifton, “Don’t try to teach a pig to sing – it wastes your time and annoys the pig.” At the Center for Sales Strategy, we spend our time figuring out how to develop people using their strengths so they are successful and happy – not annoyed. Imagine if my boss required me to bowl a 300 every day at work!
As a sales manager, it is important that you start by putting people in positions where their talents are a strong match. Are you taking the time to make sure the candidate’s natural talents and abilities align with what you will expect on the job? If not, commit to the extra 15 minutes that it will take to make sure you have a system in place that helps you to identify what the job is and what skills, talents and experiences will be required for success.
Only then can you know that you are giving that new hire the opportunity to experience the “high” that happens when every step is synchronized and every breath is easy.
At the Center for Sales Strategy, we use a Job Analysis and Spec sheet as one piece of the selection process. You can download it by clicking the button below.
Elisa Hillman is a Talent Analyst at The Center for Sales Strategy