When unforeseen obstacles and challenges present themselves during a year, the commitment you have to your sales goal will be tested. Here’s a story of a team that passed the commitment test. Our United States space program plans for every possible contingency to ensure our astronauts return to earth safely. There are multiple goals on each mission with having the astronauts return home to their families being number one. With all the planning they could possibly muster, extenuating circumstances arise as they did during the Apollo 13 mission. An unforeseen malfunction put the astronauts lives in danger. With an undying commitment to saving the men, the Apollo team tapped into the human creativity and genius that we all possess. The team was challenged time after time to solve a new unforeseen problem in a way that’d never been done or anticipated before.
At one point during all their efforts the Houston engineers realized the carbon dioxide filters would fill and stop working before the crew could get back home. The excess carbon dioxide would cause dizziness, black-outs and eventually brain damage, rendering any effort for re-entry into earths’ atmosphere useless. Additional filters available were square and didn’t fit into the round compartment of the lunar module. An engineering team was directed to find a solution to this problem and get the astronauts home safely. They needed to figure out how to fit a square filter into a round hole in a very short amount of time with limited defined resources.
They duplicated every resource the astronauts had on board and spilled them out on a table to collectively come up with a fix. They used duct tape, process manual covers, plastic bags and other odd materials to make it work. These parts and pieces were designed for their own purpose not a filtering system, yet they were perfect for the housing device they desperately needed.
I watched the video clips (clip one and clip two) of this story with one of the sales teams I work with, and then we discussed how the story could apply to selling situations and commitment to the sales goal. Here is what came up:
1. Be willing to use each other’s input and strengths rather than staying in traditional sales silos.
2. Explore new options when necessary; get creative, challenge the status quo.
3. Being totally committed to a goal is where the creative and openness begin to apply numbers one and two.
Point number three is where it all starts. The ground team as well as the astronauts were 100% committed to finding a solution and failure was not an option. Of course, we all know failure or coming up short happens in life no matter how committed we are. How you approach and work through your challenging or unforeseen circumstances will be the proof in your commitment. Will you continue to fight for solutions and never give up on your goal or will you allow your square filter challenges be a good reason for you to lower your personal expectations.?
If you have an overcoming story I ‘d love to hear it.