Is What You Are Doing Not Working?
As a grade-schooler, I remember the phrase, “it’s opposite day!” Typically it was declared during recess (and was never an actual day). It came after random events like, “Susie thinks you are cute!” and “You have a booger in your nose.” Immediately after my reaction, “It’s opposite day!” would be yelled-sometimes it was a relief, and sometimes I was horrified. Ok, more often than not, “Opposite Day” did not work in my favor.
That may be why I rarely considered doing the opposite of what I would typically do as an adult. I would manage a situation a certain way and be unhappy with the result I achieved, but I would chalk those experiences up to be “lessons learned.” Then I would slightly tweak my approach and get a little better of a result, but still, be dissatisfied. I think most of us learn lessons and adjust over time.
But why don’t we consider the opposite approach? It makes sense, right?
If we take action and don’t like the result-wouldn’t the opposite action lead to a result we were happy with? It is simple logic, and simple things are rarely easy.
As I matured as an adult, someone who sells, and as a manager, I have learned that the opposite approach is usually the right one. This simple theory not only makes sense but is also grounded in the application of best practices.
I had a client call me one time to discuss an employee. The employee struggling with his performance had a terrible attitude, becoming cancer within the organization. When I asked him what he was going to do, he replied, “I am going to give him a raise!” After all, nothing else had worked out, and if giving the raise didn’t fix things, he could cut his losses early and part ways with the employee. He delivered the news by saying, “I believe you have much more potential than you are delivering right now. I believe it so much that I will pay you for your potential up-front, and it is your responsibility to make my investment in you pay off.” The employee did a 180 and began succeeding again. The investment paid off.
Crazy huh? Imagine yourself giving a raise instead of putting someone on a performance improvement plan. It turns out it works!
Even in sales, it applies. Some of your salespeople are working hard to be liked. They are careful with what they say to people, ask softball questions, and make small talk over nothing to build rapport. It turns out that if they stopped looking for a person’s approval of them, they would be liked more by those they interact with. Wouldn’t you rather have a conversation with someone about your business who wasn’t trying to get you to like them? It turns out that the majority of salespeople have it wrong!
It worked out for George on Seinfeld. The show “Opposite George” ended with him turning his life around. That might seem good enough for a comedy show, but if you watch those, interactions-he made some decisions in that episode that are best practices.
What if you looked at everything you were working on that you were not happy with and tried the opposite to solve it? It might be scary at first, but it might be the best decision you have ever made!