Jamming on a Theme

Business can mean anything these days. From corporate wheeling and dealing to running a trade blanket at the farmers market, it all comes down to what you want from life. That might mean raking in a fortune, or it might mean getting to spend your days tending garlic plots and observing the cycles of life. Either way, there’s a certain type of nous involved. I firmly believe it’s not that different in any given venture, regardless of how conventionally businesslike (or not) your activities may be.

For example, most business-mongers require some degree of professional sales skills. Training in this area may be helpful, but I’m inclined to think that the sales edge really comes from experience. Take my friends, twin brothers Mike and Jake. Mike has a line of artisanal berry jams, while Jake is a roller-coaster engineer. You’d think that Mike would be stronger in the sales department, but actually Jake is forever having to ‘sell’ his professional decisions to the stakeholders that can make or break any given project. 

Mike might make more sales overall, but the stakes aren’t as high. Besides that, his berry jam virtually sells itself, with the result being that Jake is the stronger salesman. Does this mean that Mike should brush up his sales ability? Not necessarily, because he doesn’t need to in order to get the job done. His real expertise lies in the realm of organisational development. Short courses in that department would probably be a waste of time for him, since he’s arranged things so that other people can take charge of that for him, whereas Jake could probably benefit from that kind of training.

Despite having a team of just three, Mike’s organisational insight leaves Jake, with his 20 underlings, in the dust. This is because Jake doesn’t have to make much effort on the organisational front, just as Mike doesn’t have to make much effort on the sales front. Each of them has developed professional strength in an area that doesn’t come quite as naturally.