I am constantly reminding myself to be bold, to be courageous, to be deliberate about my actions. If I have decided to do something that is positive, that I have weighed out and I am confident that this particular course of action will lead to the correct results – then I should stop looking backward and just go forward at full throttle. Every morning when I wake up and look in the mirror, the self doubt creeps in. I start second guessing my course of action. I hit one little bump in the road and I am ready to throw the whole idea out the window because I discovered that it was not easy.
Ideas are easy. Execution is hard. No great idea ever became a reality without a massive amount of work, energy, effort to overcome hurdles, obstacles and entire mountains in the way. I have been involved in teaching computer science since the 90s. Along the way, I learned to pick up the famous stories of the successful IT hero’s and talk about how their ideas changed to world. The best one of course is Thomas Watson, CEO of IBM. He was a teacher for a day, a bookkeeper for a few more, he sold organs and pianos. He got pissed off about his commission plan and moved on to selling sewing machines. He got a larger commission on those sales. He tried to sell shares in a failing company and then after all that – opened a butcher shop.
Funny thing that. His butcher shop needed a cash register. So he got a NCR machine. He had to make installed payments on this device. He must not have been a good butcher, because it was not too much longer that he realized that selling machines like this would be a great idea. So he begged for a job from John Patterson and John Range from NCR. Watson basically sucked as a sales person, unfortunately. Range took mercy on him and started giving him some pointers. With this and some definite help, Watson started to have some success. He was the best salesperson for the East region of NCR for a period of time.
Watson got named as the East Region sales manager to help boost business in the easy. Watson was a bit ruthless, he decimated his competition and I have heard rumor that he might have even deliberately caused his competitors devices to fail in bake offs. Watson started to become one of the main leaders at NCR, that is until he was found guilty for anti-trust sales practices and sentenced to a year in prison. His conviction was overturned, btw. Watson was later hired as the GM for a company called CTR, which Watson then changed to IBM later. He fought anti-trust action again, because he figured out how to grow the company to producing 90% of all tabulating machines in the U.S. He got in trouble for selling machines to Nazi Germany. He was required to pay almost 70% of his income in taxes.
The point is that Watson, created the sales world that many people are employed in today. All of the activities that we do as sales people all seem to have their roots in what Watson created to produce a very effective sales team that would place IBM at the forefront and become the first blue chip tech company. If there is one word to describe Watson, I would use the word – Bold. That is exactly what he was. He created ideas and executed on them and when he ran into a challenge, he kept on pushing through. Not all of his ideas were great, some of them horrible, but the even his bad ideas were successful – because he set a course of action and did not give up.
Take a look at all the great hero’s of the tech world. Michael Dell, William Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg – yeah they all had an interesting idea. However, I can pretty much guarantee that it was not the idea that made them become wildly successful. It was the execution of and idea that got them there. Honestly, if you have an idea and it seems good, and people tell you it is good then what are you waiting for? Go for it! Be bold!
Guy Reams (423)
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