As I See It

by

Published: April 28,2003

Several weeks ago, noted sales trainer Jeffrey Gitomer was in Jackson for a motivational seminar, which was attended by professionals from thoughout the South.

The Mississippi Business Journal co-sponsored the event, and I went by the Jackson Hilton to speak with Jeffrey and say a few words of welcome and introduction to get the program started. I had not intended to stay beyond my official duties since we were in the middle of putting togehter the spring issue of Construction Mississippi, and I had editorial obligations awaiting me at the office.

However, I decided to stick around for a little while to see how Jeffrey worked his magic. I’m glad I did. Not only is Jeffrey Gitomer an excellent speaker and sales trainer, his message is applicable to people in all walks of life. One of his comments, in particular, has provided me a lot of food for thought.

“You can become a world-renowned expert on any subject you choose within five years,” said Mr. Gitomer. “All you have to do is devote an hour a day to that subject.” The required hour a day can be easily gleaned from sacrificing mindless hours of TV re-runs and other non-productive time wasters, such as watching the weather report — it’s going to be hot from now until mid-November and that’s all you need to know about that.

Whether I could really master elementary algebra by investing a mere hour a day for five years is questionable, but his point is interesting. I have been a very amateur guitar player for more than 40 years. Having never really committed to developing my meager talents, I have not advanced much over those four decades. Wonder what difference it would make if I invested several thousand hours honing my skills rather than just banging out the same old tunes? An intriguing thought.

On a more practical level, what difference would it make in my professional life if I devoted the suggested time to studying and contemplating business and leadership issues? Would my management skills improve? What about my writing? Wow! This is really getting exciting.

All that remains is to harness all that energy and put it to good use. Therein lies the hurdle. Changing habits is tough to do. Shaking us out of our comfort zones and launching new habits is challenging. Much easier to just keep doing what we have always done.

Will I shake loose and challenge Vince Gill for his spot on the Grand Ole Opry or will complacency win out? Time will tell.

Gitomer offers other solid career enhancing principles that are so simple they’re almost too elementary to mention. However, lots of people fail to maximize their career potential by overlooking these basic strategies.

Be prepared. Know your business and know your customer’s business. Rise early and prepare for the day ahead like success depends on it (because it does). Be creative in business and personal endeavors. It is by creativity that we stand out from the crowd.

Be honest even when it hurts because your reputation is more important than closing a sale with any hint of misinformation.

Words to the wise? I think so. It surprises me sometimes how important concepts get swept aside in the rush of day-to-day living. I find it helpful to sit back from time to time and think through the basic tools of success. And who knows, maybe a juicy recording contract lies at the end of my five-year effort.

Thought for the Moment — No business opportunity is ever lost. If you fumble it, your competitor will find it. — Anonymous

Joe D. Jones, CPA, is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. Contact him at cpajones@msbusiness.com.

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