The Hour Between Dog And Wolf

Here’s a book written by a former Wall St trader who retrained as a neuroscientist. The title apparently refers to a french phrase for twilight.

On Radio 4 Thursday, I heard him explain more. Here’s a taster of his publisher’s blurb;

[it] reveals the biology of bubbles and crashes; and how stress in the workplace can affect our risk-taking

His stand-out conclusion is;

morning testosterone predicts a trader’s afternoon profits

His study began with the question of whether the winner effect, observed across several species, also rang true for humans. Namely,

statistically, if an animal has just won a fight, then they are more likely to win the next

Whilst he was careful to say he found it hard to make solid prescriptions for business leaders, he did discover that testosterone levels in men followed this. In the immediate aftermath of a ‘victory’, traders were way more aggressive and took more risks. And it appears, were more likely to follow-up with another ‘win’.

For sales people this offers a potentially brilliant insight. I often cite this tale as a major influence on my career. In my cubrep days, a senior salesrep landed a whale. So big in fact, that just three weeks into the financial year, he’d hit his target. When he came into the office, inked order in hand, congratulations rained on him. When the drenching stopped, he simply sat back down at this desk. Picked up the phone. And started making cold calls.

That doesn’t quite conform to the more aggression/risk finding, but does show a similar theme. (Can it really be true that the top winners take more risks?)

He was hot. And when are you ever going to be hotter? So he decided to make hay.

This winner effect has further possible consequences too. Throughout any sales campaign, you earn little victories. Whether it be a first-time appointment booked, on a shortlist with your timetable being followed, or negotiations beginning. What do you do after these types of progress occur? And how can you make them happen more often?

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