Action and reaction

I remember one of the sales meetings that I was invited to, some years back. It was a review of how the sales team had performed. Interestingly, the entire discussion centred around analysing a host of measures – how many schools were met, how qualitative were the meetings and so on. At the back of my mind was this constant, nagging question – why wasn’t anybody talking about the most important metric of a salesperson – his targets? It seemed to be that no other sales organisation would indulge in something of this sort, where the actual targets & the achievement (or lack of it!) was discussed for the least amount of time in the 4 off hours. I was beginning to lose my patience and at one point, I had to actually ask people why an inordinate amount of time was being spent without actually discussing the targets. While I did get a response, I couldn’t immediately grasp the significance of it back then.

One of the most quoted, and perhaps equally misunderstood verses of the Song of the Lord is as follows –

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥
The few readers of this blog are doubtless familiar with the verse, and thankfully so. I am not going to risk the onus of explaining it elaborately. While there are many ways to understand the essence of the verse, one aspect stands out to me in this discourse on action and reaction. It is the self-evident truth, that we may exercise control only on our actions. When it comes to the reaction, or the result of our action, it lies in the future, however immediate. And by its very nature, something in the future is beyond our control.
The performance of a salesperson in EZV is measured on two broad counts. One of course is what pretty much everyone else in the world measures – how much of the target was achieved? In other words, what was the result? We at EZV too measure this. However, this is not the only thing we measure, review & improve. A significant amount of time and effort is spent in understanding and discussing what was done by the salesperson, towards achieving the target. In other words, we measure not just the result but also the effort, and reviews focus on both these.While it is important for us that our people achieve their targets, we are also keen to ensure that they put in the right kind of efforts. We wouldn’t be happy with shortcuts or half-measures. So, we don’t want to be seeing spectacular results without adequate efforts – an unlikely occurrence, unless one takes the inappropriate route. And to us, that is a non-negotiable. In the 15 years of our existence, I am fairly confident that we have never done a sale in ways we wouldn’t be proud about. The nice thing is, we still exist. And what’s particularly interesting is, in doing so, we have quietly gone about getting better at what we do.
So we have a situation where salespersons who put in the right kind of effort are encouraged, irrespective of the results. To some, it may seem like we are lax. To us, it is a recognition of a certain key principle of work. I am proud and grateful to belong to such a sales organisation that values & appreciates not just the results, but the efforts as well.
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2 thoughts on “Action and reaction

  1. Thank you, I am pleasantly surprised to find you here 🙂
    PS: I kept wondering why you would call yourself Mayawati’s party till i figured 😀

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