Lunge Don’t Lean


(By Bob McCurdy) It is increasingly difficult to succeed in any industry, by being merely “interested” and not totally “committed”, particularly today. The competition for the ad dollars, both local and national, is not diminishing, the number of media outlets competing for them are multiplying monthly and there aren’t as many of them as there used to be for any of us to succeed without being 100% committed and constantly eradicating any professional soft spots.

“Lean into” is a popular buzz phrase you hear a lot today but “leaning into” is not enough. “Leaning into” is to “commitment” what Lite beer is to beer. It is better than nothing but not the real thing. I prefer “lunge at” instead. There are different degrees of leaning in but not with lunging, which is an all or nothing action. You can’t fake a lunge.

“Leaning into” communicates something less than an all-out commitment, I can “lean in” when convenient and “lean back” when not. This might have been sufficient in decades past but will likely result in middling results in 2020 and beyond.

On the other hand, “lunging” at some task or career, communicates being “all in”, a head-first dive and vigorous assault on a challenge or opportunity. “Lunging” versus “leaning” and putting in the extra effort that “commitment” requires, will provide a competitive, sustainable advantage for any salesperson, cluster or company.

When hiring, one of the traits I really zeroed in on was the individual’s comfort with lunging, digging deep for previous examples. The reason was that “lunging” requires commitment and the “committed” hold themselves to higher standards that are anything but standard. They constantly push themselves to identify and seize competitive advantage and serve as a powerful role model for others. A sales manager’s dream.

A different mindset is necessary to “lunge” than just “lean in”, which means it requires us to overcome ourselves, and some existing habits, which is always mandatory for any meaningful behavioral and attitudinal change to occur. This is more difficult than it sounds but is extremely rewarding for those that are able to adapt this frame of mind.

Generally speaking, the less successful salesperson has multiple “interests” and few if any inviolate professional commitments whereas the more successful salesperson keeps their “interests” to an absolute minimum thus protecting their ability to completely focus on what it is they have committed to, which is continued professional growth and development. The successful salesperson manically limits the extraneous and distractions.

Note if you attempt to gauge your “commitment” level after reading this, be careful, as one person’s definition of “committed” is another’s definition for being marginally “interested”. Make sure you define “committed” with some considerable stretch.

Commit and lunge but don’t lean. It is now your challenge to convert this concept into action and dollars.

The radio industry could benefit from a little more commitment right now.

Bob McCurdy is now retired and can be reached at [email protected]


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