And another sales tip from Newsnight (!) this time from a fella that worked inside Number Ten under Blair. He made the interesting disclosure that on the wall of the Cabinet Office was emblazoned the quotation: “Quiet, calm deliberation disentangles every knot.” This apparently comes from the Gilbert & Sullivan opera The Gondoliers. The (brilliantly written) verse in full is:
In a contemplative fashion,
And a tranquil frame of mind,
Free from every kind of passion,
Some solution let us find.
Let us grasp the situation,
Solve the complicated plot —
Quiet, calm deliberation
Disentangles every knot.
What intrigues me about this, is the fact that it’s an approach which appears the polar opposite of how problems usually get discussed in the world of Sales. Emotions race ever highwards, games finger-point blame, moments explode under intense heat.
Of course, I could easily argue that when you remove passion from the solution-finding equation, then shockingly poor results ensue. And you merely need to scratch the surface of the disintegration of ever-bloating UK Public Sector effectiveness to realise that a decision made without emotion is one that typically absolves accountability and precipitates disaster.
Having said which, there are probably several Sales Manager to Salesrep, and customer to supplier conversations that could undoubtedly benefit from taking such a step back, a deep breath, and re-examining the issues in this way.