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External Justification

Around about 1987 I was sitting having coffee in a McDonalds. Waiting for my contact to show up for an early morning breakfast meeting. Sitting close to me were 3 people that were in their 30's and early 40's (10 to 15 years older than I was at the time). They were talking about luck.

These people took turns talking about local Jewish successes they knew who got lucky and "made it big time". Since I had always known that dreams come true for those who want them too, that everything is available to all of us, I found their talk sort of revolting. So much so that I moved to a table out of ear shot while waiting for my contact to show.

Today, while researching a sales article I came on some good information. And, as often happens, I ended up re-discovering something else, which I had known but it had not crossed a synapse point in my grey matter is some time.

What is EXTERNAL JUSTIFICATION? Well, let me tell it my way first, from the stand point of as if I was public speaking on personal development (I will keep this short I promise), then I will throw in some stuff from the website I tripped over in cyberspace ... interspersing my schtick (pieces) too (by the way, I am not Jewish, not that I would have any problem being Jewish, just lived in that neighborhood for years).

When someone's life goes to hell in a hand basket, by their own doing, the great majority will not see the person staring back at them each morning in the bathroom mirror as the one to blame!

Now two examples/explanations from the website (changingminds.org) as how we attribute our problems to others or something else other than ourselves;

(1) "We all have a need to explain the world, both to ourselves and to other people, attributing cause to the events around us. This gives us a greater sense of control. When explaining behavior, it can affect the standing of people within a group (especially ourselves)."

(2) "When a football team wins, supporters say ‘we won’. But when the team loses, the supporters say ‘they lost’."

Too true.

When you did not meet quota was it the fact that the delivery truck did not drop of the trial machine? Was it that the service department blew a service call on a sure deal at the end of the month? Was it because our company did not do enough advertising? These are methods of external justification. "This is as opposed to internal justification, where we attribute it to our character or some personal trait or belief" as in; the blame is really on us for not doing enough prospecting!

If you have less than you deserve, start looking in the mirror for the problem. And not in the rear view mirror (the past) but the one that looks back at you!

Best of luck always. - by Gold Calling
How much of our habit to use external justification is passed on?


Moms who justify their son's behaviour, make excuses for them, sooth them irrationally when they mess up, they are not adding to a healthy ego, quite the opposite ... wouldn't you say?

Is this the cause for many who do anything but blame themselves? - by Gold Calling
When we clear-off that shaving mirror every morning, we need to be brutally honest with what we see/say. So, rather than accepting "external justification" as an approach, I believe it's key to pick apart all of the wins and losses. Break them down into clearly identifiable steps in order to assess either "improvement" (wins and losses) or "repeatability" (wins).

As an SM, it's critically important to have frequent post-mortems or debrief's during team meetings. During these sessions we kick around the big wins and we dissect the big losses. Where we've identified concerns within our grasp, I would take it upon myself to assume the mandate to resolve the issue(s). Where we would identify situations which we could not resolve, we would discuss work-around's or ways to avoid the situation in future.

While discussing the wins, we would always talk about what was repeatable and did the others in the room feel good about trying whatever was implied. Sometimes, training fell out of the discussion topic.

In some instances, where the issues were tied to the individual SR, I would take them off-line for a one-on-one. This wouldn't be done in a negative posture, rather, it was viewed as an opportunity to gain a positive insight into improving performance.

We get so few "flags" in sales that we cannot afford to miss those that are so prominently in-our-face.

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
Outstanding post Pat (outsource sales).

I love the term "postmortem" and that you brought up the idea that both wins and losses equally need investigating.

Learning is not an event but a process.

Sales meetings can be very productive in terms of supporting and reinforcing training, if they are run correctly. Too many SM's arrange for topics to be shared and never link real word experiences to these discussions, then or ever.

Retention is increased through repetition.

Habit forming or habit changing, this is the goal of training. But we cannot change what we cannot remember, thus the need for repetition and reinforcement. - by Gold Calling
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