I am watching my tiny six-year-old cheerleader work with the others on her team to line up right and count one-two-three-four as they do their moves together. They are preparing for another competition, after having made their debut last week. They took second in their age group and were as thrilled with their second-place trophy as any Olympic gold medalists.
Second? My ultra-competitive self-wonders what another team did that was better. Maybe I should watch the routine a few more times and practice with her at home. Maybe she needs to work on sharpening up her cartwheels. Maybe they ALL need more practice, and to listen better and to be more like those crisp talented teams you see competing at Disney World on ESPN.
Then, as I watch, I notice: not once did they fault another person on their team. Not once did they get upset when the five-year-old had trouble balancing on their upraised hands. Not once did they seek punishment for a teammate who was fidgeting with the excess energy found in a kindergartener. Not once did they point fingers at who wasn’t in position. Instead, they helped their teammate get into position, they softly reminded the fidgetier it was time to be still, and they said, “That’s ok!” to their comrade who had the balance problem.
Media sales is very much an individual sport – but is it? Sure YOU get paid YOUR commission and are measured by YOUR billing. You are right, and most of the people you work with take home a smaller paycheck than you. And I have heard it said in the sales pit that NOTHING happens without sales! We have our tools, such as a CRM and inventory management, to help us be the best. But the traffic director can give an important client a more favorable position, or not, manipulating software all day long. Even though the AEs may not like a certain song or promotion, you have to leave it up to the Program Director, and trust that they know what is best to get ratings (which help your sales) based on their research and know their audience. The engineers are up at hours we don’t like to think about and doing technical stuff we don’t understand with tools we shouldn’t touch.
So maybe we ALL should sometimes act like six-year-olds. Maybe we should strive to be our personal best (because let’s face it, our income depends on it); but maybe we should not assume anyone who isn’t in sales, or isn’t the lead cartwheel, is not as good. And maybe we should help our station teammates instead of pointing fingers. Maybe we should listen more and fidget less.
Now, let’s all go get some ice cream!