Sunday, September 5, 2010

Learning to play for Pizzas (John Grisham)

Just read a John Grisham novel – “Playing for Pizzas”. It’s about an NFL quarterback who has to move to Italy because of a few fumbles in a NFL match. It’s about how he hates anything to do with Italy but grows to love the game so much that he decides to stay on in Parma for the second season, barely playing for pizzas and not the hefty contracts he was used to.

If nothing else I realized how easy it is to do what one completely believes in and loves doing. Is the contrary also true? It becomes extremely tough to do something if you do not believe in it. And ‘sales’ is one such career. You never believe in the targets that are given to you. You always see those as a little too high – but then the field is as ruthless as it can get. You either achieve it or you don’t. You either hit it or you never will.

And as a manager, initially you are more of carry-and-distribute-agent. You receive a target – you carry it in your mind – you distribute it. While doing so, you might make it sound that the target was the simplest possible and can be achieved with just a little extra effort – while in your own mind, you harbour doubts the size of Titanic – you make it sound like it is the unsinkable but know there are irrefutable chances this Titanic is gonna sink.

Initially you hate it. But… Slowly over time, you have seen many-a-Titanic go down the ocean and you now become impervious to another mishap and just look forward to creating the bigger and the more unsinkable ship. And as these too keep sinking, you learn the right way – of playing for pizzas – forgetting your baggage of playing in the NFL (say those ‘elite’ B-Schools) – and playing for the fun of it – the fun of making the ship safer. And that my friends, is when sales start to happen.

As for me, till now, I’ve just built my first Titanic and it sure is gonna pain if it sinks. Pray it doesn’t :D

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