The Illusion Of Control


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Let me confess, I’m a control freak. It bothers me to think that “being in control” is an illusion. As sales people, business professionals, managers and leaders, we are always trying to control something. As sales people, we try to control the sales process—yet it’s the customer that is in control of their buying process. As managers, we may try to control our people—but we really never can control them. We have a reluctance to do something new–unless we can be in control.

In reality, there is little we control–perhaps how we spend our time, our integrity, our values. (Sometimes I wonder about my time.)

Despite the fact that control is an illusion, we can never escape our accountability.

We are accountable for producing results—no excuses! In sales and business, we don’t get “A’s for effort,” we are expected to produce a result. That new product we were expecting to help us meet our quotas is late—that’s tough, we still have to hit the number. Not enough leads, no excuse, we still must meet our commitments to achieve our quotas.

Over the past couple of years, some have tried to escape their accountability–blaming their failure to achieve results on the economy–on factors outside their control. In the mean time, there were a number of people quietly sorting things out, not diverted by the economy, but coming up with creative strategies for their business.

We don’t have control–but we still have to persevere. Whether it’s exercising influence on all the people involved in the decision, whether it’s finding a way to eliminate obstacles, to reduce barriers. It may be finding ways to reduce risk–to our customers, or the risk inherent in the strategies we are pursuing. We don’t have control over our people, but we can coach, and develop. We can make sure goals and objectives are aligned. We can make sure people understand they are accountable.

Control is an illusion, but accountability is always there.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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