The change conundrum: reflections of a crappy salesperson

As the Rudd-Gillard leadership drama plays out, one of the most interesting facets for me is Kevin Rudd’s mea culpa.

He purports to not only have learned the error of his ways (a tyrannical management style and sweatshop conditions for his staffers); he claims to have mended them.

I am not convinced.

Perhaps he has relaxed the working hours for his bureaucrats – but then, he is only a Minister now, not a Prime Minister. Maybe he has even adopted some tokens of democracy in his decision making.

But can a person really change that much? I don’t know.

How much can we ever really change ourselves? It’s a question I ponder a lot.

I heard a guy called Dave Rendall speak at a conference a while ago, and he made a comment that stuck with me: people never truly change, they just become more of themselves.

In this case, he was talking about our work identities. The concept of people working on their ‘weaknesses’ strikes him as both useless and damaging. Why not embrace your strengths – your particular ‘freak factor’ – and bulk them up?

It makes sense to me. For example, I have spent a long time trying to make myself a better ‘sales’ person – pushing ahead with new business deals, chasing people up, boldly asking them for money or work.

But my heart’s not in it. My desire to be a better consultant, to make my boss happy – that’s genuine. But ultimately, it just doesn’t sit right with me. And I think my boss is slowly coming around to that fact.

What I really agonise over, however, is this: how do we know what’s immutable about ourselves? When are we just not trying hard enough to change?

After all, we often surprise ourselves with what we’re capable of.

So, do I decide ‘this is my optimum body shape – I should just accept it’, or do I get a hardcore personal trainer?

Do I suck it up and make myself a better salesperson, or redefine my role and its performance indicators?

It really is a dilemma, and I don’t expect to solve it anytime soon.

I do, however, expect to see K Rudd back in the top job before long.

By Belinda Thomson

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