Living with extremely high-drive individuals

Let me introduce you to the dogs. Chile (Waggerland Chile) and Vela (Stardell Avela). They’re both Border Collies. We don’t call them sheepdogs, because they don’t work sheep! However, they are both working dogs and (before they retired) were trained for the civilian equivalent of police dog work – obedience and control, intelligence and independence, searching and tracking, agility and fitness.

Chile and Vela are energetic and intelligent dogs. Quick to learn and both love work. But, they have very different temperaments and motivations.

Chile is highly biddable and eager to please. She likes to learn and get things right. She works for extrinsic rewards. Her favourite is chopped liver, although she’s also fond of an old rubber quoit. And Chile is a pleasure to be with, she’s motivated but not too pushy. Polite.

Vela, on the other hand, is … how can I put this nicely … a pushy bitch. She’s an extremely high-drive dog. She lives to win and that is in itself an intrinsic reward for her.

Vela is the only dog I’ve ever seen who (even when hungry) would refuse a food reward in order to get on with things. She had her own agenda and nothing was going to get in the way that.

This made her a nightmare to train, ask any dog handler and they’ll tell you that you need to be in control of the dog’s reward.

What’s that got to do with selling consultancy?

If Vela was in sales she’d be entrepreneurial dynamite. Chile on the other hand would be more suited to account management.

New business success, in consultancy, may require you to be more like Vela, a little more pushy than is normally comfortable for you.

Selling new business is tough because you’re certain to ruffle feathers and upset some people. However, be assured, high-drive executives like to be challenged – providing it is done with respect and rapport. They are looking for people who bring fresh ideas, who are prepared to take risks, break through roadblocks, and show initiative.

What’s the one thing you might change as a result of knowing this?