I’ve blogged before on the value of picking an enemy.
I first encountered its power when two decades ago, a prominent Sales leader told me how of his early road warrior repping days. He would drive by his rivals offices late at night, snarling. Park outside, even. See if any lights were still on in the sales office. Find out how long after home-time they were still working. It would drive him on to beat them.
My first formal introduction to it as a tactic for focusing yourself came in the mid-Naughties. Via the productivity tool trailblazers, 37 Signals [of whom I last blogged in 2018], and their ebook, Getting Real. Indeed, the enemy they picked back then was Microsoft Project. Good choice.
We now learn that serial World Champion winning motorsport team principal, Toto Wolff, subscribes to this tactic too.
New to me, was the ‘official’ term he ascribes to it; enemy building.
What is clear, is that in moments of motivation drop, seeing an image of the rival you must better can help spur you on with added energy at that point.
Interestingly, the Mercedes F1 boss recommends – as he himself choses – to use pictures of real people.
I’ve always embraced other manifestations. Like 37 Signals, it can be a product, brand or organisation. I’ve also enjoyed propulsion from fixation on a process, a component part, or general approach.
The bonus of this latter widened landscape being that you can share it more readily with prospects. And when they appreciate, buy-in even, your way of looking at your (their) world, mutual ties tighten.
As I often hear myself saying with salesteams looking to gain fuel, ‘so, who’s your enemy?’
As the label now suggests, you can build on this. As well as drill down into it. Atomise and expand as fit.
Toto has his. Where’s your Sales Satan?