Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Yin and Yang; Manipulation and Understanding; Right and Truth

Sometimes when I go to a local AMC movie theater and leave after the credits roll, a porter greets me as I leave. I wonder about that. The conversation, a courtesy in the porter’s mind and probably encouraged by management, seems gratuitous.

I see the same sort of thinking in any situation where a social relationship is needed to get a desired result. Substitute teachers are told they should greet their students as they enter the classroom, probably to establish classroom “control,” but it is a practice that seems gratuitous and for which there is not enough time. People make enthusiastic greetings when on sales calls. It’s always seemed to me to be a put on to create emotion that really does not exist.

Actually, the whole idea of the "chain of command" as it exists first in the military but in corporations in general seems to start with what people call "social graces" (especially in Army Basic, as I experienced it in 1968).

How much of our economic activity that we call networking is directed at finding potential clients, about “getting business.” In many companies, new life insurance agents must develop a certain number of leads to get or keep their new jobs.

Of course, people tell you that real salesmanship is customer service. A financial planner or life agent should analyze a number of potential strategies for a customer. But, of course, the planner is working for the benefit of a specific party.

Many people base their career and life strategies into building social networks in which their position in the network is of primary concern and determines the opportunities that legitimately will belong to them. "Belonging" a social group for the sake of belonging compromises independence in my way of thinking; it sounds like the "Greek" syndrome. It’s easy to miss a lot of the big picture with such an approach. This all sounds like “yin,” the manipulations of the “masculine personality”, the extrovert, without the willingness to look more deeply into truth for its own sake.

One problem, then, is that one needs to understand the issues that can affect all clients in different situations or (as health insurers say) “strata.” One needs to understand a panoply of issues that may come to affect individuals in previously unanticipated ways as demographics, technology, or the external physical environment changes. It’s the willingness to be objective in this last area that so many people who make their living “selling” lack. There is a natural tendency, going with the ego, to resist saying that you don’t understand something fully and have to look even deeper into the onion layers of issues. Yet, they say, you have to “always be closing.”

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