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Ken Keller: How to use Marine Corps values in sales leadership

Brain Food for Business Owners

Posted: June 5, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 5, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

According to Wikipedia, one definition of leadership is: “The ability of an individual to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members.” 

The Marine Corps has 14 leadership traits, shared below, which can be adapted to those who earn a living in sales and business development.

 1. Justice: the practice of being fair and consistent.

 2. Judgment: the ability to think about things clearly, calmly and in an orderly fashion.

 3. Dependability: the ability to be relied upon to perform duties properly, and being trustworthy to complete a job while putting forth the best possible effort in an attempt to achieve the highest standards of performance.

 4. Initiative: taking action without orders, meeting new and unexpected situations with action and being resourceful to get something done.

 5. Decisiveness: being able to make good decisions without delay while weighing all the facts while acting calmly and quickly arriving at a decision.

 6. Integrity: being honest and truthful in what is said and done; putting honesty, sense of duty and sound moral principles above all else.

 7. Enthusiasm: a sincere interest in the performance of all challenges.

 8 Bearing: carrying oneself with confidence.

 9 Unselfishness: avoiding making or being comfortable at the expense of others, being considerate.

 10. Courage: the ability to remain calm when recognizing fear. Standing up for what is right and accepting blame when responsible.

 11. Knowledge: understanding the job and acquiring knowledge to understand people, along with keeping up with current events.

 12. Loyalty: being devoted to country and respecting seniors, peers and subordinates.

 13. Endurance: the mental and physical stamina measured by the ability to withstand stress and hardship.

 14. Tact: dealing with people in a polite, calm manner to maintain good relations.

 Why is this important? Why does it matter?

There are many skills required of successful people in life, including drive, listening, communication (verbal and written), determination, self-awareness, vision, time management, presentation ability, organizational and many more.

Sales, even in the best economic conditions, are not easy; when the economy is poor, being successful in sales is even harder. It gets tougher for salespeople to become and stay motivated, it is hard to get appointments for presentations; sales quotas are more difficult to achieve. The pressure mounts.

From the perspective of the salesperson or people managing others, not achieving what is supposed to be achieved may become a matter of survival; the difference between a paycheck and being unemployed.

As a result, values become compromised. What was once cast in iron becomes something akin to Play Dough, something that is flexible enough to meet any situation and thereby stands for nothing.

There are no shortcuts to success. Compromising core values that all should adhere to endangers more than just a relationship that will secure an order.

A shortcut damages the reputation of the company. It hurts the relationship that the company has with vendors. It could impact every other customer. It may impact every employee of the company and those that depend on that paycheck for a home, food and clothing.

The Marine Corps has been in existence since Nov. 10, 1775, and survives because the men and women who serve and have served, adhered to core values through times of peace and wartime. These values are communicated through word and deed everyday to reinforce importance and meaning.

Core values exist so that people have a foundation to build upon in their behaviors. There is no time like the present to have core values reinforced. 

Ken Keller is chief executive officer of STAR Business Consulting Inc. He can be reached at (661) 645-7086 or at KenKeller@SBCglobal.net. Mr. Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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