I just returned a couple of weeks ago from SHRM's National Conference & Exposition. Imagine 15,000 of your favorite HR buddies gathering in one spot to learn from the likes of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Daniel Pink, Fareed Zakaria, Blake Mycoskie and Gabby Giffords. Wow! I am still trying to sort through the nuggets of information that I can implement into my daily activities to better my organization and the customers we serve.
One of the more interesting presentations was from Daniel Pink, author of five books about the changing world of work, including the #1 New York Times best seller, Drive. His newest book is To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others.
Here's a great summary of what I learned from Daniel Pink:
Sales is the most important part of anyone's job-especially for those in HR. "Exchanges in the workplace happen every day. It may not be monetary, but we all give up something for something else of value in return. Just think about how much time you spend in your job convincing and persuading others to try an idea or accept a report." According to Pink's research, people typically spend 41% of their time on the job trying to persuade others. He told the audience that the art of persuasion is actually sales even though money isn't changing hands.
"Sales is a big part of what people do every day, and my guess is that HR is doing more of this than [people in] other jobs," he said. "Just think of trying to convince executives in the C-suite to accept a new idea or recruiting a top job candidate to come work for your organization. Even though the cash register isn't ringing, these are sales."
Pink hoped everyone at the general session would accept two big concepts-that they actually work in sales and that the sales model of today has radically changed from 30 years ago.
"Our traditional view of sales is outdated," he claimed. "Years ago, sales had an asymmetry. Sellers had most of the information, while buyers had very little knowledge about what they were buying and not many choices. This world has shifted dramatically."
According to Pink, the world has moved from "buyer beware" to "seller beware." To succeed in this brave new world of sales, he said, people need to possess the following three qualities: attunement, buoyancy and clarity.
- Attunement means being able to get out of your own head to see things from the perspective of others.
- Buoyancy is the ability to stay afloat in an "ocean of rejection."
- "Clarity is the ability to distill information and manage information," he said. "I believe that we have overstated the skill of problem-solving. What we really need more of is the skill of 'problem-finding,' and being able to use the information available to understand and see problems before they happen."
For all of us in the Human Resource profession, I think Mr. Pink has nailed it on the head!
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