Compartmentalizing Recognition: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
By Carson V. Heady
We are – as individuals – constantly getting feedback. The topics and nature of this feedback varies greatly; sometimes it is about us, sometimes it is about situations affecting the one giving the feedback and sometimes it seems to be about everything or nothing at all.
In the selling game, feedback from superiors or peers or customers comes fast and furious. Opinions are pretty easy to come by; there is an old adage that adequately describes their prevalence. The sad fact is, sometimes we hear too much from the sources we value less and too little from the sources we value more.
From the moment we enter a sales job, we are evaluated; from the interview process through initial sales training and on into the field in our daily jobs. So the real question is: what do we do with all of this feedback? How do we pick out what is most pertinent? How do we decide what we let get to us and what we do not? Are we really the savior or the scapegoat that others or our managers make us out to be? Let’s dissect.
Compartmentalizing the feedback we get is important. People often feel passionately about the things we say or do, but they also often act out of those very emotions. It is the very reason we say things in the heat of passion or anger that we may not have said otherwise. It is why political elections bring out conversations and arguments that would not have normally occurred. It is why peers try to tear down the top salespeople and accuse them of cheating; it is easier than putting forth the effort to beat them all by themselves.
But all of this is feedback, one way or another. For example, I have gone through my entire sales career with very little guidance, if any. I always heard the naysayers, wondering how I trounced them on the sales report day after day, month after month. But you cannot let those things get to you. You must compartmentalize. The only things that should truly matter are fact and truth – no matter what. I have also been told by hundreds how great I am, praised, heralded and cheered by the hundreds of people who have worked for me. On the same token, I cannot let that go to my head and make me feel infallible.
Constructive criticism, however, very much has its place. I have seen my fair share of ineffective means of delivering it – through attacks, threats and fear – and tried to preach the effective means – mixed with the good, laced with hope and with specific schematics towards positive change. First, always consider the source. Respect people’s positions even if they have not earned your respect. And try to ascertain why they said what they said, what you can apply to your life and what needs to be left by the wayside.
We can learn so much from so many people and experiences. What helps you more: someone saying “atta boy/girl, great job” all the time, or someone truly telling you how and where you can improve? They may lack tact or compassion, they may not have a clue what they are talking about and they may not factor in your future, but take bits and pieces out of every ounce of feedback you get and carry it with you on the journey. Whether you are being screamed at or showered with compliments, NEVER lend too much credence to either side – maintain a level head and consistent outlook.
You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have your facts of life. Recognition – good, bad, and ugly – has its place in our lives and we have to be beaten up a few times to develop the thick skin and the survival skills to win. We also need positive reinforcement to keep us in the game. Unfortunately, we will never get everything we want when we want it. Compartmentalize, keep your eyes on your prize and learn from every little thing you see or hear.
All the best!