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Beat The Ref!

By Star Report 2 min read

By Carol Douis, Vice President of Southeast Region - New Home Star

John Miller, author of The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability in Work and Life (otherwise known as QBQ!), shares a story about advice given from his father who was also head wrestling coach at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Before each match his dad would remind Miller that there were three people to beat that day: his opponent, himself, and the referee. 


It was obvious to Miller that he had to beat his opponent. To beat "himself" his father had taught him that he must overcome those natural fears that come with being an athlete. His advice for beating the ref was always: "It doesn't matter how close the match is, John. Even if you lose in overtime by one point, even if he makes a couple of questionable calls, you cannot blame the man in black and white." He would conclude by saying, "if you want to win, you must be good enough to beat the ref!" 


In our industry, being "good enough to beat the ref" means being a salesperson who has the maturity to say, "I was outsold" instead of complaining about the product, the price, the incentives, the schools, the location and the lack of advertising. It means serving as a team member who never says, "Why don't others pull their own weight?" or "If only the builder would do this---." It means being a manager who doesn't complain and constantly ask myself, "Why aren't my people motivated?" It means being the people who don't complain about leadership, saying, "Why don't they tell us what's going on?" 


Who is the "ref" in your life? What person or situations beyond your control are standing between you and success? Could it be your CEO, owner, sales manager, builder or developer, or inefficient systems built into your organization that waste a lot of your time? Perhaps it is a personal situation that continuously drains your energy. 


No matter what we're trying to accomplish, there is always a barrier of some kind to overcome, and often it is something over which we have no control (market, economy, consumer confidence, weather/seasonality). Instead of focusing on the barriers, let's work to become so good that we'll succeed no matter how many bad calls the ref may throw at us. 


If you want to win, don't complain about things beyond your control. Just be good enough to beat the ref!


Carol Douis brings 20+ years of successful sales leadership and experience to serve homebuilders and developers in the areas of sales strategy, coaching, training, positioning and organizational development. Douis has a strong history of successfully maximizing sales effectiveness by developing and implementing corporate policy, process skills systems, strategies and initiatives tied to accountability channels for large and small sales teams.

Originally published Jul 24, 2015 under Explore the latest topics, updated March 15, 2024

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