Jan 19, 2013

Q. Tell me about some important leadership lessons you’ve learned.

A. One of my early jobs was selling computer hardware. What I learned about selling was probably more valuable than my M.B.A. I had seen selling as a process just about logic. Then I realized that has nothing to do with it.

Q. What was the insight?

A. You have to present your story in their context, not yours. They don’t really care if you’re standing on top of a robot and quoting equations. If they’re in the deep part of the forest, you’ve got to talk the language of the deep forest. Salesmanship is more like a language unto itself. There is no right or wrong. It’s what you make of it, and what’s black can be gray, and what’s gray can be white. It depends on your framework. The challenge is to share the same framework so that you’re seeing the same page in the same way.

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