Well, today is the first day of a new fiscal month. Since I started this sales job 4 months ago, I’ve become accustomed to the “hurry up and bring in the revenue” emails that trickle into my Inbox all month, then arrive fast & furious during the last couple days of each month. I guess that’s the job of a VP of Sales, to remind salespeople they’re supposed to be selling stuff. (If he doesn’t remind us, we’d probably just shop on Amazon.com all day – but oh, that’s right, access to Amazon.com is blocked on our company computers.)
Our VP has been with the company for 30 years, so he must be doing something right. He is definitely good at sending emails. He has the whole “compose” and “send” thing down pat. The distinct thing about his emails is that they all contain a “motivational” quotation by a famous person, usually a dead famous person. You can tell our VP has been around while because about half of the quotations are by Vince Lombardi. Cliche, but OK, we all know who Vince Lombardi was.
Anyway, last month, our collective sales staff did not reach the company’s monthly revenue goals. (We made it the three months prior, but April was admittedly tough.)
So today, we came into the office to an email telling us how much we missed our quotas by, and how we need to work harder, he knows we can do it, etc. etc. etc. Typical, run-of-the-mill stuff that an overpaid VP of Sales is supposed to say. And today, his “motivational” quote is by Abraham Lincoln:
My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.
In other words, since we missed our numbers last month, our boss decided to “motivate” us by telling us what losers we are. It’s the classic 1980s business model of leadership.
I got to thinking about the 1980s. A meaningful way to measure the passage of time in a human life is to look at the different US Presidents during that time. So, in the 80s, Reagan was President for 8 years.
Then we had Bush I for 4 years.
Then we had Clinton for 8 years.
Then we had Bush II for an incredibly disastrous 8 years.
Now we’ve got this other guy in here and our VP of Sales is still trying to motivate us by pretending this is the Reagan administration. He’s probably going to send us all home with a copy of “Wall Street” if we don’t make our quotas in May.
And what an insult to Abraham Lincoln! Of all the quotable things Lincoln said, our VP chose to toss a little quote about failure at us on a Monday morning. Nice.
If this were my first sales job, my feelings would be sort of hurt. As it is, I’m walking around here today proudly wearing my failure on my sleeve. It’s not all sales reps who get such a label of distinction before the fiscal year is even half over!