Many years ago, my friend, Ed moved from San Francisco to Melbourne to become the regional sales manager for a global learning and development organisation. That’s when I first met him. He was here for four years, and we developed a strong friendship in that time, which has thrived over the many years that we’ve known each other. In fact, I actually introduced Ed to his wife, so we have a close relationship. Ed is without doubt one of the most successful salespeople that I have ever met. A key thing that I learned from Ed and that I’ve witnessed as he worked with his salespeople, a key phrase that he would always say is, ‘What’s your point of view? What’s your point of view?’ The reason why he used to keep asking this question is he said, ‘To be successful you need to have a point of view. You need to have a perspective.’ When a client asks you a question, you are then able to offer a perspective.
Now, it doesn’t mean that you are stuck to that perspective, or that you’re not open to being swayed, or not open to having alternative points presented. The point that he was making was that you need to have a point of view, rather than just say, ‘Well, I don’t care.’ If you say, ‘Here’s my point of view, and this is why I think that,’ what that does then is it helps you engage in dialogue with someone else. The other person may have a different perspective. It then enables you to engage in conversation. Having a point of view also requires you to think about the issue, to reflect on it, and then obviously to be able to articulate your point of view.
I think one of the things that happens when you have a particular point of view is that it encourages you to speak up in situations where you may be quiet. As you develop a point of view, it actually then gives you the courage to share that in a group setting or with an individual, because you have thought about it. Of course, having a point of view means that you are able to then explore that, and it also enables you to have a conversation and, if need be, defend your point of view.
There is a distinction between defending your point of view and being defensive. Defending your point of view is being able to articulate your point of view and then being able to listen to the other, as compared to being defensive, where you are stuck with only one view and just try to put that across without actually listening. What’s the reflection point here? As a global leader, what’s your point of view?