Abraham Lincoln recognized an important difference between character and reputation.
“Character,” he said “is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
CHARACTER is held up with the greatest of respect and high status. The challenge with Character is you never really know if someone has real Character until you see them in an environment where that is challenged. Character can be an elusive term and can be subjective in many ways depending on that persons value system. Abraham Lincoln gives us good starting place for thinking.
I want to look at what Character is and the benefits you and many Key account managers or sales leaders might gain by growing in Character as you grow your sales and customer relationships.
What do I mean by Character (I'm open to debate on this)
Character is a framework of values, thinking and beliefs that supports the consistency of the way we view and interact with people, decisions, challenges and situations.
An example of character in action could be a customer treating one of your colleagues disrespectfully. One way to respond is to get mad and shout (an eye for an eye). The other might be to make your customer aware of how they came across, how you'd like to work together and encourage respectful practice. This isn't easy but from this act alone you can see demonstrations of different character traits like self control, wisdom and integrity which are all strong traits of high character in action.
Anne Frank, the 13-year-old victim of Nazi persecution said in her diary, “The formation of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
What does this mean for Key Account Managers or those in account management. What we practice in secret is what will be visible in public. Despite a world of social media and technology for connecting with our customers. People still buy from people.
Skill might get you through the door, but character is what keeps you in the room.
The reason then Character is important is because by its definition if your values and beliefs are not aligned then you're unlikely to build trust as fast, make better decisions or grow positive influence and see even greater sales results.
Why? Character leaves clues. Just like the tree analogy it bears fruits and is eventually seen by the world. Its important to be clear on what you stand for
Here are five statements I have in my life which help me think about Character and those important decisions to personal growth and sales success.
Do the hard right over the easy wrong – in simple terms, practice doing the right thing. In some ways this can be one of the trickiest things to do. As we can easily overlook small short cuts and only focus on the big wrongs. I’ve been guilty of that. If you can push back on the small wrongs you’ll find it easier to relate to and make decisions when the more challenging ones arrive.
Be transformed by renewing your mind – a verse that comes from the bible but meets so many layers of relevance. It short it all begins with your thinking. What you feed your mind with is what will grow. A great reference book for mindset is the book by Carol Dweck called Mindset.
Decide to own you - The great speaker, Robert Ingersoll spoke of this in the 1800's when he said, "Every human being should be taught that his first duty is to take care of himself, and that to be self-respecting he must be self-supporting...” Own your actions as no one else can do it for you.
Get around outstanding people – there is a phrase that stuck with me said by the late Jim Rohn “ you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” wow does that quote punch you in the gut. Look around and if you don’t like what you see maybe todays the time to meet new people.
Be determined to get better – character is not something that just occurs. It’s never an event but a gradual process of the person you want to become. Maybe some people succeed because their destined too but most people succeed because they’re determined to.
Note: For a super in depth view on character check out this very comprehensive article from the site the Artofmanliness (for women too)
- What are thoughts on character and success?
- Does anything said jump out at you?
- Do you disagree with anything?
If you're a key account manager, account manager, manager or sales leader take the next step and connect to get more great insights. I'm here to help you have even more profitable client conversations and help you grow your existing customer sales and have fun in the process. Look forward to helping you succeed .
Founder and Key Account Growth Guide