Last week, I had the privilege of working with the heads of two entrepreneurial companies, one retail and one IT. I’m a strong believer in stewardship. At least once a month, as part of an Expert Board panel, I provide business development and sales insight to start-ups and companies taking their small businesses to the next level.
Let me tell you: this is fun. Because these entrepreneurs are passionate about their businesses. And as much as these folks learn from what I and the rest of the board recommend, I also learn from these entrepreneurs. Their perspectives impact mine. And their enthusiasm is infectious.
How many of you are passionate about what you do?
Do you sit in meetings waiting to be called on if the conversation (ever) gets to the technical side? Is that the only time during the meeting when the light comes on, the spark is ignited and you “do your thing?” Technical Passion On Demand?
What about the rest of the discussion preceding your performance art or following whatever solution you suggest? Do you participate? Does your spark turn off and you retreat back into “cubicle mode”?
And while we’re at it, are you passionate about what everyone else on the team brings to the table? Are you passionate about the business development continuum in which you work? Because – news flash here – you work within that continuum.
You are not a discrete variable that is taken off the shelf when needed and put back on the shelf after your skill set has been deployed.
You know, these entrepreneurs last week didn’t have anywhere near a full understanding of the nuts and bolts of the business development and sales engineering process. Yet they were willing to keep an open mind about the ideas which were being placed on the table. They remained vulnerable, of course, and perhaps a bit defensive, concerned that the Expert Board might quash their ideas. How delighted they were when we took their ideas and built upon them. They became even more passionate about their quest to take their businesses to the next level.
Can you picture this scenario?
Because they were willing to stray outside their comfort level. Because we didn’t say “no you can’t do that” but rather “here’s what I would suggest to take that idea and make it even better.”
Because they were willing to stop playing it safe.
How passionate are you about the engineering expertise you provide for your company? How can your position at your company allow you to bring your passion for engineering to the company table? How receptive are you to bridging the gap of What You Want (aka What Frustrates You) and What You Have at your company?
Like these entrepreneurs, you will reap the reward of what you bring to your company table day in and day out. What your company offers you is an opportunity to bring your spin, your perspective and your passion for engineering to the capabilities offered to their customers.
It’s what we all bring, our capabilities and our areas of specialization, that creates the greatest value to ourselves, our organizations and our career path.
Remember when we were starting out? We were all start-ups, entrepreneurs of ourselves. We had no baggage, no status quo, no concept of “I’ve always done it this way.” We simply had our own passion about the possibilities out there. And yes, we were naïve as well.
We are still that start-up personality and passion. There are projects that “fire us up” and rekindle that spark. You know, where you fearlessly move forward and assume risk because you are so intrigued by the engineering problem or business case on the table.
What would happen to business outcomes if you brought that passion to your company’s table for each project?
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers 2013. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? focuses on technical / non-technical collaboration strategies and tools.