The Power of Intuitive Thinking
The ability to think differently is a trademark of most success stories. Sales, science, leadership are all impacted by the ability of people to push their thinking in slightly different directions.
In 1847 Ignaz Semmelweis was a doctor who specialized in delivering babies in Austria. The mortality level was staggeringly high and his simple thought that if you wash your hands before treating or examining an expectant mother the chance of a good delivery and the survival of both mom and baby jumped astronomically. He wasn’t sure why (it wasn’t until 1860 that Louis Pasteur made the connection between germs and illness), but he saw the impact. Despite his record keeping, the majority of the medical community thought he was crazy. Who has time to wash your hands?
In 1997 Steve Jobs made it back to Apple. In one of his internal meetings, he told everyone that they needed to get back to basics. That Apple had drifted away from doing their core business well and they were doing way too many things, making way too many things, thus making too many mistakes. His thinking reduced the Apple product line by 70%! What, be more successful not by growing but by shrinking?
Wait a minute, wash your hands and expected mothers and their babies don’t die. Get small to be successful. These two ideas share a counterintuitive way of thinking, a way of thinking that permeates successful sales professionals.
During World War II, two very secret operations were set up and driven by a type of counterintuitive thinking; one everyone should be familiar with, The Manhattan Project, where the best physicists, chemists, and engineers were working feverously on creating the atomic bomb. The combined effort of thousands of people had to learn to think about the bonds of energy differently. The other is less known and it was called, The Applied Math Panel with a very unusual division; The Statistical Research Group and it was here that Abraham Wald practiced his craft.
Wald was an Austrian-born statistician who had barely escaped the rush of Nazi Germany.
Wald was tasked with helping figure out how to protect our military aircraft from being blown to bits in the skies over Europe. The challenge was intense as he viewed photos of planes that had barely made it back to their air bases. He looked at patterns of impact and came up with a very different solution to the problem than the military had already started on. His counterintuitive way of thinking is credited with saving thousands of airmen’s lives. His story is told in Chapter 4 of our book.
In fact, counterintuitive thinking is a pervasive skill set in sales. Great sales performers have to think differently about relationships, failure and time.
Six chapters of the book deal with how thinking, not outside the legendary box but instead DIFFERENT thinking, right within your sales model, can make a massive difference in the success of your sales strategy.