How to Know If You’ve Lost The Deal For Real


There is the old adage that says

The sales begins when the customer says No!

It’s the adage we, sales people, use to make ourselves feel in control and to not give up so early. We hear often statements like this to act as motivation to keep from laying down our sword and quitting the fight.

The truth is, there is no truth to this statement. The customer’s no has little bearing on weather the deal is really lost or not.

The sale doesn’t begin when the customer says no but it’s not over when the customer says no either. The only time a deal is lost is when both sides of the deal, the prospect and the sales person recognize there is no value to be had in the deal.

I wrote about this last week for Hubspot. You can read it here, but I also wanted to share it on A Sales Guy as well. Understanding when a deal is really lost is critical. Too many sales people AND prospects stop the sale prematurely. Conversely, too many sales people and prospects hang on too long, trying to work a deal that just shouldn’t be made.

Here’s how I break it down;

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 1.32.59 PM

A deal is only lost when there is no perceived value from BOTH the sales person and the buyer — period!

Sometimes the sales person understands the value, and the buyer doesn’t. So yup, it’s the sales person job to get the prospect to see the value they don’t see. Just because the customer says no doesn’t mean there is no value. Unfortunately there are times the sales person just doesn’t “get it” and they buyer will go cold because they can’t see the value that exists. This is far too common, because most sales people are too busy pitching a product and have no clue what specific value they’re selling. Either way, it’s in the bottom right quadrant that most deals are lost unnecessarily. Why? Because the sales person is incapable of communicating and demonstrating the value of their solution or product to the buyer, so the buyer doesn’t buy. But the deal wasn’t lost, it was given away — via shitty selling. It artificially puts a deal in the bottom left quadrant

Other times, the buyer sees the value but for some reason the sales person doesn’t.  In these cases the buyer just buys. The sales person feels like the luckiest person in the world.  They think they just won the lottery.  Truth is, the buyer understood the value in what the sales person was selling and just didn’t want to waste their time trying to get the sales person to see it.

When both the client and buyer see value, that’s when selling nirvana happens. Everyone is working together and the best possible deal is in play.

The only time a deal is really lost is when the buyer and the sales person recognize there is no value. When no value exists, then the deal is dead. It’s that simple.

If there is value, keep selling. Dig deeper, be more clear, provide more information, create strong use cases, get supporters, do what ever you need to do to make sure your buyer understands the value, ’cause if there is value, the deal ain’t dead.

If there isn’t value, then just stop, it’s over.

How To Know When A Deal Is Ready To Close


I’ve spent a lot of time with a lot of sales people and one of the biggest problems I see is rarely, too rarely, do sales people know when a deal is ready to close.

Unfortunately, sales people rely on false, weak, unaligned triggers to assess how close a deal is to close. I hear things like,

  • I sent the proposal and they seemed OK with everything
  • They have to buy by end of the month in order to make their delivery timelines.
  • My buyer says they’re gonna buy
  • TheY have the contracts, it will close by end of month
  • They just need board approval

Here’s the deal, some of these may close and others won’t.  These customer responses do very little to provide insight into whether or not the deal is going to close and more importantly if it’s real. Deals close when everyone involved, every stakeholder, influencer and decision maker feels the impact of going with your product or service will change their world for the better and that your solution is key in reaching the goals and objectives they’re trying to accomplish.

Unlike these customer answers, understanding if a deal is going to close starts with understanding why the buyer is buying in the first place, the impact to their organization, the players involved, and the decision process.

To know if a deal is ready to close answer these questions;

Why is the customer buying? What is their motivation? 

You have to know what the business reason is. You have to know what “new” state the customer is trying achieve. It’s not enough to know what the technical problems are, you have to know what the business problems are. What problem is the prospect trying to solve? What advantages, improvements, initiatives are they trying to capitalize on.  Once you know that, you have to weigh the motivations on an urgency or impact scale. Are they solving big, critical, hairy problems or are they solving nice to haves? Understanding this matters because, why the customer is buying drives their motivation to move. The lower the motivation to make a change, the harder it is to close the deal.

Your job as a sales person is to outline a vision of a powerful future state with your product or service in the middle that is greater than the competition or the status quo, thus creating tremendous motivation for change. If you can’t do this or it doesn’t exist, the deal isn’t going to close. So, before you start feeling a deal is going to close, make sure you can answer the questions; what is the business problem, why do they need this solution, is it a big problem and is the impact of our solution (the future state) compelling?

The decision process (criteria):

This is almost always a rather big black hole or blind spot for sales people. Rarely do they know what the decision criteria are going to be in the decision. They don’t understand how the prospect is going to decide. When I say decision process, I don’t mean who, and when, but I mean what. What criteria are going to be used to determine if they make a change or not.  Understanding this is critical.

Even more critical to knowing what the decision criteria are, you have to know if you’re product or solution is meeting their decision criterial. To suspect a deal is going to close without knowing what the decision criteria are and how they are going to make the decision is like shooting in the dark.

A deal doesn’t close until the decision or evaluation process is complete and they feel confident the change they are looking to make is probable.

To know if a deal is going to close requires you know what the decision criteria are and how they are going to evaluate the choices and even more importantly how your product or solution fairs against their decision criteria. Too often sales people can not articulate how their product or solution aligns with the customers decision criteria and just assume it does.

The Players

Knowing if a deal is ready to close requires knowing who all the players are and what their role is in the buying process. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched sales people miss read a deal close date because they didn’t know all the players and how they influenced the final decision. Their contact tells them they are the decision maker and then at the very end, the prospect says; “Yes, let’s do this. I just need to put it past, my boss, the board, legal, HR, etc. and the entire process starts all over.

Knowing who the players are, what their role in the decision process is, what their unique decision criteria are and what their motivations are is a key element in determining when a deal is ready to close. If you know the CEO has to “approve” then you know it’s not ready to close before it gets on her desk. If you know that a particular feature you don’t have is important to the CEO, then it’s not ready to close no matter how bad your buyer wants it or how many times they say yes.

It is impossible to know if a deal is ready to close without knowing all the players involved and what their motivations are.

The sales world talks a lot about “closers.”  I don’t believe in closers. I think closers are bad sales people. You can’t close a deal, only the customer can close a deal. What you can do is influence the decision and if you don’t know who’s deciding, and what they are deciding on, then you ain’t influencing anything.

You wanna know if a deal is ready to close?

  1. Know why they are buying and if the impact of what they are buying creates enough of an impact that NOT changing is more painful.
  2. Know the decision process and know that your solution or product meets all the decision criteria.
  3. Know who the players are and know that your offering meets their unique decision criteria and that all the parties have been involved and are participating.

Every time I sit across from a sale person who says a deal is ready to close, I ask a number of questions. I ask why the prospect is buying and what’s the business problem? I ask what happens if they don’t change/buy? Why do they need to fix this problem now? What other alternatives do they have to solve the problem? If the sales person can’t answer those questions or the answers don’t support a decision, I know the deal isn’t going to close.

I also ask what the decision criteria are. I ask for a very specific, detailed description of what the prospect is evaluating and how they are going to decide. If the rep knows, then we know how we fit. If we fit, it means we’re close. If not, we’re not. If the rep doesn’t know, we could be in trouble. You can’t know if a deal is close to close if you don’t know how the prospect is going to decide.

I then finish with asking, “Who are all the players and are they all involved and do we have ALL of their buy in?”  If she says anything but yes, I know it’s not yes. I don’t listen to all the b.s. sales people love to throw out. This question is pretty simple. If all stakeholders and players have seen it and are on board, we’re close, if they haven’t we’re not.

Most sales people are pretty good at determining IF a sale is gonna close. Where they suck is determining when a deal is gonna close and it’s usually because they can’t answer these questions when it’s most critical.

The brilliance in selling isn’t knowing if a deal will close, it’s knowing when!

Do you know when a deal is ready to close?


Have Fun Filling Out Your Expense Reports



Filling out expense reports sucks. So does updating the CRM. There’s a lot of boring shit that goes with selling and being a sales person. But at A Sales Guy we don’t believe it has to be boring. So our Marketing Maven Ruth Penders came up with a #badass idea. She came up with Club ASG. Club ASG is a Spotify Playlist to help you rock out when you’re doing all that boring sales shit, that’s not selling.

Expense reports are boring and a pain in the ass to fill out. But, it’s part of the job, don’t complain, just plug into Club ASG’s Sales Pump Playlist and rock out while you get em done.

Yeah, your isn’t up to date.  We all know it. So go update the close dates, get rid of the deals that aren’t going to close and close out the old activities and do it all while you’re jammin’ to Macklemore.

If you’re a nerd and don’t know what’s hip today, we’ll be adding new hip tunes to keep you in the know.

Just because we have boring shit to do that’s part of the job, we don’t have to make it boring and A Sales Guy is here for you.  The best part, it’s a collaborative list so add to it, the more the better.


You Can Hide in Video, But You Can’t Get Lost (Why Video Hiring Rocks!)

We’re hiring at A Sales Guy. It’s been a VERY painful process. Finding good people is hard. A Sales Guy has a very unique culture in that we look for and embrace the gritty, cool, nerd who can SELL! And, when I say nerd, I mean nerd, not dork. There are way too many dorks in sales. We’re not interested in the dork or the douchebag. We’re looking for something special.  It’s hard for us to find people that have the tenacity of honey badger, the creativity of Madonna, the coolness of Jay-Z and the smarts of Steven Hawkins. What? Too high of a bar? Yup, we’re over achievers, or as we say ASG’ers.

With this said, we are very happy when we find that killer candidate who embodies exactly what we’re looking for and we found one of our new guys just the other day. Maxwell is awesome and we’re happy to bring him on.

How did Max get a job with ASG? He’s a badass and proved it with video. We ask all our candidates to do a quick video on why they are a #badass and why they’d be a good fit for A Sales Guy.

Here’s Max’s

The reason for my post today wasn’t to sing the praises about using video to find sales people. Ruth our marketing maven, did a good job of that on the A Sales Guy Recruiting blog. You should check it out.  I wanted to write about video job applications or interviews because I think they do something no other medium does. It keeps people from getting lost.

The biggest problem with traditional resumes and even interviews is the candidate can get lost. Their resume doesn’t say exactly what the employer is looking for and “poof” it’s in the trash. During an interview, someone gets nervous, the interviewer asks crappy questions or personalities don’t match and the true candidate gets lost as well.

But when video is involved, the candidate can’t get lost. They are in complete control. They get to decide everything. How to do it, to add music or not, to tell a story or not, to wear a suit or not, to do it inside or out, they have complete editorial control and when this happens “the you” can’t get lost. It’s a controlled setting that gives you limitless opportunities to sell yourself and deliver a message that truly tells your story.

Although you can’t get lost in video, you can hide. You can choose not to be creative, you can choose to be like everyone else. You can choose to be boring, you can choose to not let your personality shine through, you can choose to play not to lose as opposed to win. You can choose to be quick about it and just say the first thing that comes to mind. You can look at it like a task that needs to be check off. You can choose to do any of those things and by doing so, you’re choosing to hide. And that’s OK, because it’s your choice, not the interviewers, not the hiring managers. Unlike traditional interview and hiring mediums you weren’t lost, you just hid and that was your choice.

Video is an awesome medium for hiring and it’s only getting better.  A kick ass new company called Hirevue is taking it to the next level. I love what they are doing.

We’re psyched to have Maxwell on the team. He earned it, and more importantly he didn’t hide.

Don’t HIDE!!!

What To Do When A Prospect Goes Dark

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There is nothing more frustrating to a sales person than when a client goes dark. Your last conversation was killer, you both agreed that your solution made sense. The prospect said they needed to; share it with their team, run the numbers, look at another solution, run it past IT, work with H.R., make a recommendation or any other “next step.” (great video on how to sell the “next step” within a sales cycle)

You’re on it. You move the call to the next stage in the pipeline, you make a note in the CRM and set a new activity. Good shit, the deal is moving along.

Fast forward two weeks. The activity reminder pops up. You call the prospect, no answer. No sweat. You schedule a call for two days later. Two days later, you call again, no answer. You leave another message. K, no worries, it’s all good. You schedule a call for two more days later and in the interim you lob over an email.  Two more days pass, no response. Now this shit is getting serious. You think to yourself, something’s wrong. The doubt creeps in, you’re freaked about how to explain it to your manager. You were counting on this deal for the quarter. You’re getting desperate, sending emails and leaving messages saying you’re just “following” up.  Ahh shit!  You’ve just become that pesky sales person who’s “just following up.” You’re fucked, you’ve lost control of the sale and in you’re desperation mode.

Two things happen when sales people find themselves in desperation mode. One, they almost always lose the deal. They’ve lost control of the sale and it spirals away from them. Two, and even more detrimental, they spend way too much time chasing the deal and it’s never going to close. In an effort to save the deal, the sales person spends valuable selling time chasing a lost prospect.

If a prospect goes dark you have to get them back and the best way to get them back into the fold is to hold them accountable and challenge them.

Here’s my favorite phrase to get a prospect jump started again;

“I’m confused, you said you . . .  (insert issues prospect said they wanted to fix, their last commitment, the impact of not changing, etc.). Has something changed?”

When a prospect goes dark the best thing you can do is put it back on the prospect. If they said they liked your solution and need to share it with the team, then you need to call them out on it and ask what happened. When a prospect says “yes,” they want to buy your solution because they are losing 1000′s of dollars in unnecessary expenses and then go dark. You need to parrot that back to them. You need to say,

I’m confused, you said you’re losing thousands of dollars in unnecessary expenses and felt our solution was perfect. We agreed to reconvene two weeks after you spoke with your team and shared it with the CEO. We have not heard from you. Has something changed?

When a prospect goes dark, something is going on behind the scenes. There could be new information, new goals, new solutions, financial set backs, new players, or it could be they are simply busy. Regardless, when a prospect goes dark, the best thing a sales person can do is go back to what their prospect originally said and committed to and hold them accountable to it.

Prospects who go dark aren’t evil or assholes just trying to fuck with you, they are just overwhelmed. There is almost always a real, legitimate reason and it’s your job to figure it out. The best way to get them to respond and figure it out is to hold them accountable to what they said and what they committed to. Anything short of that isn’t selling, it’s pussyfooting around and that’s not gonna get you the sale.

Prospects are people and for the most part, they know they owe you a call. They know they made a commitment and the longer it goes without response, the more they feel bad about it and in an odd twist, the less likely they will be to call. So, it’s your job to lay it at their feet and open the door by simply saying;

I’m confused, you said . . .

This simple phrase invites prospects to explain where they are, and more importantly address the “gap,” the gap between what they said and their actions. As people we hate inconsistencies, gaps and inaccuracies. So, when you say;  I’m confused, you said . . . the prospect is compelled to address the gap and this is exactly what you want them to do.

This entire approach rests on the premise you actually have engaged the prospect well enough early in the sales process so you understand what their problem is, why they are looking at your solution, what the next step is, where you are in the sales cycle and what they are doing in between calls. If you can’t answer those questions, nothing can save you. In that case, take the deal out of the pipeline, go get Jill Konrath’s SNAP Selling book and start over, because you’re a sales person in title only.

If you know what the customers motivation is. If you know why they are looking to buy. If you know what the next step is and it’s because they told you, good — make them own it. That’s how you get them out of the black hole.

When prospect goes dark, accountability is the light.

Vail Gives Us a Lesson on “Product vs. Sales” With It’s New Epic Mix Feature

I’ve talked frequently on this blog about how product has surpassed sales in driving revenue. As much as sales people don’t want to admit it and as much as many companies don’t want to admit it, the change has occurred and ignoring it won’t change things.

There is too much information available to consumers about products and services that deficiencies, lack of features, poor service etc., can not be overcome by even the best sales people in the world. Today’s most impressive and forward looking companies understand that investing in product is the best and most effective way to grow sales and Vail Resorts gets this as well as anyone.

Vail is my home mountain. I have a 2nd home in the Vail Valley. I’m a part-time ski instructor for Vail Resorts and have been singing Vail’s praises since moving to Colorado in 1989, to spend a season in Vail no-less.

In addition to the killer ski school, the amazing terrain, unbelievable service, excellent properties, food, and amenities, Vail Resorts does something to enhance their product, no other ski resort in the world does. They engage their visitors via a killer mobile app called, Epic Mix. I’ve talked about epic mix here before. It’s the app that tracked my 1 million plus vertical feet last year. Epic Mix has been a sick way to keep visitors connected to Vail and to share their on mountain experiences. And this year Vail are taken it to a whole new level.

Vail updates Epic Mix every year, adding cool and fun new features. However, this year Vail has made it’s biggest upgrade and it’s exactly how focusing on product drives sales. This year, Epic Mix has added a new feature called, Epic Mix Guide that allows skiers to create a customized map or guide that helps them get around the mountain.  When riders log in, they simple answer a few questions about their skiing ability, how much time they have, and the terrain they want to ski and BOOM! they are provided with a number of options to maximize their ski day. How fucking cool is this? Your own customized ski map.

As a ski instructor and local, I’m constantly asked where to ski, what the best runs are etc. When I go somewhere else, the first thing I do is look at the ski map and “try” to locate the best routes for the day, to figure out what my skiing itinerary is going to be. So, to have an application that does it for you, now that’s the goods. I know Vail like the back of my hand, yet, I’m going to try it out and see what I don’t know and hopefully learn a few things.

This is how you increase sales via product. Focus on the user experience, create a better experience than anyone else, give your users something to talk about and sales will follow.

Am I saying we don’t need sales organizations? NO! What I am saying is that focusing on your sales team, before you focus on the product is a mistake. Vail gets this and they are the biggest and most successful ski company in the world. Let’s let them teach us a little something.

Where’s your Epic Mix Guide gonna take you?




Outlook (n)

A View: a pleasant view, a person’s point of view

If you were looking out on the street and saw -20 degree weather, ten feet of snow, and no sun, do you go running out?

If a small restaurant is tucked away in a small dark alley in a bad neighborhood, do you go in?

If you’re looking out onto a pristine white sandy beach, with beautiful crystal blue water, do you burst out the door in glee?

It seems quite clear, no to the first two, and yes to the second . . . but not so fast.  It all depends on your outlook.

To a kid, that freezing, snowy day is a day off from school and a sledding bonanza. To the food aficionado, that small restaurant could be the best dining experience they’ve ever had and an opportunity to discover and amazing new restaurant. To the pasty white person, who’s afraid of sharks and doesn’t like sand everywhere, there is nothing fun about that ocean paradise.

It’s not the environments that dictate anything, but rather our outlook.  It’s how we “look out” that makes the difference. We CREATE our own world through our outlook.

We can do little to change the environments we’re in, but we can for sure change how we look out at them. Change your outlook and you change your emotions and actions.

There is no profession in my opinion where outlook is more critical. Sales gives you plenty of cold days, mounds of snow, shark infested waters, and dark streets, but if you see them as a chance to surf, ski and eat some damn good food, all of a sudden it sounds like one fucking good time.

What are you looking out upon? What’s your outlook? What do you see? It determines everything.

What Your Customers Don’t Know — That’s Costing You Sales


“No, we’re all set.”

“We’re happy with what we have.”

“We’re not looking to change at this time.”

How often have you heard these words come out of a buyers mouth? Nobody wants to hear these words. They stop sales people in their tracks.


Because, for most sales people, if the prospect already has what you’re selling then why “push” them on something. No one wants to be a “pushy” sales person.  I agree. No one wants to deal with a pushy sales person. BUT, in many cases the customer doesn’t know what their alternatives are and don’t know what they are saying no to. It’s your job to help them make an educated decision based on what they know and don’t know.

You see, when people buy, or more specifically when they decide they want something new it’s due to one of two scenarios. It’s either because they have identified a problem they need to fix OR they’ve seen a product or service that highlights an opportunity they didn’t know they could capitalize on. It’s really that trait forward.

Let me simplify. People switch or change if:

  1. They recognize a problem they want to fix or make go away
  2. Something (a product or service) highlights an opportunity they want to take advantage of.

Number two is where the win is when it comes to the objections listed above. When a prospect or buyer says they don’t want to change, that they are not looking, that’s code for — We don’t see a problem that needs to be fixed. Therefore, the first reason to change is not present. Here is the good news, number two is still in play.  Unfortunately, too many sales people walk away from a potential sale, because they don’t recognize number two is still on the table.

Putting number two in play is tricky, but if your product or service can truly improve a buyers environment, then you have a chance. The key to putting number two in play comes down to knowledge of your product AND knowledge of your prospects environment. If you don’t know more about what your product or service does in relation to your prospects current solutions you won’t be successful getting number two in play. And, if you don’t know as much or even more about the environment your customer is in, you’ll fail executing on number two as well. Getting prospects to see an opportunity they didn’t already see is a “knowledge play.” You have to know more than your prospects current and future states than they do. That’s hard and requires serious skill, tact and knowledge.

To get your prospect to see opportunities they didn’t see starts with having a super robust understanding of what the common current state is for their environment and what is good and not good about their environment. You have to understand the workflows, the touch-points, the costs, the failure points, the use cases and more. You have to have to know what your prospects are using their solutions for and how they are using them.

Once you understand what your prospects are using for solutions and how they are using them create a list of three or four questions that can or will highlight the differences in what you offer and what your prospect currently has today. The objective is to create a gap in knowledge between what you know and what your prospect knows.

Here are a couple of my favorite questions to ask when I hear the objections from above:

  1. No problem, I understand you are all set, but if I could ask one question. Are you familiar with the difference between “insert your solution” and “insert what ever solution they are using?” By asking this simple question you quickly determine how educated the buyer is and on what basis they said their not interested. This is a great question for creating that gap.
  2. I understand you’re all set, not a problem. But, could I ask a quick question, how are you solving “insert a common business or workflow problem you know most of your target buyers are struggling with.”
  3. Thanks for your time, if I may ask one last question before we get off the phone, how are you capitalizing on “insert a common opportunity your prospects or buyers CAN’T capitalize on in their current environment.”

By asking any variations of these three questions sets you up to find a gap in your prospects knowledge. Knowledge and information are behind every sale. Too often we assume our prospects and clients have all the information and are making informed decisions. This assumption is a bad one. Prospects and customers usually don’t have all the information, they are too busy running their businesses.  It’s up to the sales person to educate them and sometimes that takes a little push.

When a prospect says they are all set, don’t assume they are right. They usually aren’t, it’s not their job to know it all, it’s yours.

Find the knowledge gap and educate the customer. If they’re all set with all the information then you’ve done your job, until then you’re walking away too early.

Don’t quit too soon.

Meeting at DreamForce 2014



K, I’m gonna be at Dreamforce the week of October 13th.  If you’re gonna be there let’s connect. My favorite part of Dreamforce isn’t the Keynotes, or the sessions. My favorite part of Dreamforce is connecting with the attendees.

Today’s world is more virtual than ever. Our sphere is bigger than it’s ever been, but it’s a virtual sphere. Even though we have more connections, we have less face time with many of these people.

It’s for this reason I get excited to go to Dreamforce. I get to see the people I connect with and talk to all year long.

If you’re gonna be at SalesForce’s Dreamforce and want to connect, hit me up in the comments and let’s see if we can meet too.


What Leaders Should Do, But Don’t!

Watching the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints game the other night reminded me of the Drew Breeze trade from the San Diego Chargers back in 2005.

For you non-football fans or those of you who don’t remember, Drew was traded to New Orleans after the 2005 season in which he broke his shoulder. As a result, San Diego ships him off to New Orleans and Philip Rivers becomes San Diego’s new starting quarterback.

Since the trade, no QB has thrown for more touchdowns, yards or 300 yard games. That includes Tom Brady, Aaron Rogers, Payton Manning and Philip Rivers. In addition to being the most prolific passer in the past 8 years, he also steered the hapless Saints to their first Super Bowl win, something San Diego is still looking to accomplish.

So, here’s my point. Do you think San Diego leadership has ever admitted to making a mistake?  I don’t sit in the locker rooms, or the front office, so I can’t answer that question, but my gut is telling me no. I’ve never heard one or seen an admittance on any sports channel. I bet the San Diego Charger leadership doesn’t believe they made a mistake and they won’t admit to it. They will point to all the success Philip Rivers has had and say they made the right choice. But looking at the data and the stats, they didn’t.

Every leader, sales leader or otherwise, makes mistakes. They hire the wrong person. They make the wrong strategic decision. The build poor partnerships.  They misjudge the market. They support a bad product. They invest in the wrong idea. Every leader, no matter how good, no matter how savvy, no matter how committed screws up, they just do.

Unfortunately, too few leaders own their mistakes. They don’t apologize and take ownership. When I say take ownership, I don’t mean a passive, quiet confession to their boss or in a closed door session to the board, but an open, public admittance of a mistake.

Here’s why it’s important.

When a leader makes a decision, it effects other people.  Because of their position, their decisions aren’t in a vacuum, they impact the jobs, the wallets, the time and effort of others and more. Depending on how big the role and the decision, it could effect 10′s, 100′s, 1000′s or even 100,000′s of people.  Even though, at the end of the day, they are the decision maker and own the responsibility, their decision sets in motion the lives and efforts of more people than just themselves. Therefore, when a leader makes the wrong decision, he or she  hasn’t messed up their own world, they’ve  messed up the world of a lot of people and that is why they need to own it publicly and admit to the mistake.

By owning their mistake publicly shows a humility and an understanding that their decisions affect other people. People don’t like feeling victimized and when leaders don’t own or show public accountability those affected by the leaders decision feel betrayed and victimized. They had little to no say in the decision, but have suffered the consequences. Once people victimized or betrayed, it’s the beginning of the end for a leader.

Being a leader requires humility and a empathy for the people and teams they lead. They need to understand their decisions affect more people than themselves and when they screw up, they screw up the lives and careers of everyone involved. To minimize the damage and show their allegiance to their team the leader MUST own it publicly.

Being a leader is more than getting big bucks, having control, setting vision, leading strategy and celebrating victory, it sometimes means admitting you fucked up in the most public of ways.

As a leader you’re gonna screw up. That’s the easy part. But can you look at your entire team and admit it publicly?  Now that’s a true leader.