Before you can sell anyone anything, it’s important to understand your Professional Context. Understanding Context involves defining the environment, biases, baggage, history, background, personae – you name it – that influences your own business outcomes. It’s all of the ingredients in your engineering, your buying and your selling stew.
Your Professional Context is the sum total of all of the factors influencing input, throughput and output in your organization – even if you are an organization of One.
All of us are usually so busy “doing our homework” that we overlook perhaps the single most important factor influencing our business outcomes: ourselves.
It’s not only a matter of “selling” yourself on Your Self. It’s also a matter of understanding your own Professional Context. Your Personal Context.
What is the impact of the environment in which you work towards creating and implementing tactical and strategic outcomes for your customers? Are you in a position to change it, even in the smallest manner? Can you create a professional environment that’s personalized and customized towards bringing out your best? This improvement might involve nothing more than listening to music while you work, or cleaning off your desk, or procuring a more comfortable chair.
What biases and baggage do you carry with you, that influence how you lead and serve others? Is this historical junk that you persist in carrying around with you really worth it? If not, jettison immediately. Your decision may involve nothing more “complicated” than “leaving home without it” when you go into your next meeting. You’ll feel relieved.
How do you let people, personalities, habits and mindset get under your skin throughout the day? You know, the folks who are like persistent fingernails rubbing against the blackboard of your professional palette. Perhaps it’s a matter of making a slight pivot in who you keep company with. Yes, you have to continue to work with these folks. I doubt they are the only folks in your professional environment. Diversify your own experiences and dilute the impact of “those” folks.
Take a 10,000 foot eagle’s eye view of your own Professional Context. When you step away from the day-to-day irksome stuff that derails your focus and energy, you will better understand yourself as a Business Person of Worth. You will appreciate yourself from the same perspective as your clients and colleagues.
I’d recommend taking a few hours each week to establish and re-establish your Professional Context. You really do bring a lot to the business table, day in and day out.
Do your Homework on You, as well as on your customers. For starters, you will better understand how you have moved forward during the course of the week. You also may identify common aspects running across the meetings and your throughput that better define your value. These common denominators help you define your professional arsenal, your core capabilities, that you can dig into time and again to deliver that fabulous output of yours. Yes, even when “those” folks at work are doing their best to undermine your focus and energy.
Establishing Your Professional Context grounds you. That’s time well-spent on you.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works on revenue-producing collaboration strategies with non-traditional sellers, engineers, manufacturers, and technical startups.