I've always said that I'd rather be lucky than good. Of course, what I'd really like to be is both good and lucky.
The truth is that we all need a little bit (or more) of luck. The challenge with luck is that you can't count on it and you can't replicate it. The advantage of good is that it is replicate-able and much more predictable than luck. For most, if you're good long enough, luck will eventually come in to play.
I share this thought, because as the economy continues to show signs of life, more and more businesses- and by extension, salespeople - are seeing an uptick in their business. While I'm excited and quite happy to hear increased reports of good news, I'm also concerned that an important question is not being asked - What is the cause of the success?
Are you successful because you are really creating value and you are becoming indispensable to your customer? Are you implementing sustainable go-to-market efforts that you can count on in the future? Or, are you experiencing success because you happen to be in the right place at the right time and you're able to take advantage of some pent up demand?
When I speak to CEOs and salespeople around the country, I always caution them that just because the fish are jumping in their boats doesn't mean they're an angler. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for luck and I do believe that we make our own luck.
The danger comes when we confuse luck with skill. Complacency sets in, and you begin to reinforce the wrong actions rather than continuing to develop the right ones.
Enjoy the luck when you get it, and please be sure to constantly focus on improving your skills for growth.