The Lake Wobegon of Growth

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jul 14, 2011 9:05:00 AM


    • How good is your service?
    • How good is your product?
    • How good is your sales effort?

My bet - you probably answered that it's pretty good; above average.

Now think about it.  What's the state of customer service today?  Most people would agree not particularly good.  Yet why is it that just about every individual company thinks their service is great?  It's the Lake Wobegon Effect gone wild.

The same is true for sales teams.  As I reported late last year; The Harvard Business Review released a damming report on the state of the corporate sales force.  Yet most companies insist they're good at sales.

Why does the effect impact so many people whose stated desire is to overcome their barriers and achieve extraordinarily profitable growth.  I think it's because we all have a tendency to judge ourselves through the prism of our intent.  We desperately want to care about our customers.  We want to be excellent at sales.  Everything we do makes sense to us, at least at the time we do it.

I've spent a lot of time working and speaking with top performers - in business and sports.  What of the commonalities I've noticed is that top performers are always sensitive and nervous (even paranoid) about what they are good at.  They tend to be very harsh judges of themselves.  Average and below average performers tend to be overconfident.  It's almost like the belief that you are really good at something, is a symptom that you may not be good at it.

I've also learned that all progress begins with honesty.  My advice - embrace the  vulnerabilities of you business.  For it is only by improving that results get better.


Topics: Inbound Marketing, B2B Sales Strategy