For sales leaders, the quality of wonder – defined as “desire or curiosity to know something” – is the end-all and be-all trait to hire for. If you hire salespeople who are curious, you will organically create an intrinsic culture of learning, with quick and adaptive knowledge acquisition.
Why is this desirable? Intuitive teamwork leads to high performance , which results in employees becoming less likely to leave your organization. People who derive fulfillment through wonder are driven by internal growth – in contrast to their externally growth-motivated peers.
This is important in today’s high tech-powered environment, which is innovating rapidly. Today, artificial intelligence is replacing human intelligence in higher and higher skill jobs , and accelerated learning is the most important skill to cultivate for a high-performing organization. This means it’s time for sales leaders to pay close attention to improving and empowering the human element of their sales organizations.
How “Why” Relates to Big-Picture Thinking
A person’s “why” or “why statement” is the meaning they assign to their existence – and, if someone’s “why” is wonder, they are higher-level thinkers and consider themselves a smaller part of a bigger, more important purpose. They’re often considered people of “faith” – no matter what that faith may be.
This frame of reference creates “bigger picture” thinking, which creates an excitement to live while being selfless . This is a powerful combination that creates enthusiastic action.
Salespeople who have a healthy sense of wonder are also less likely to be competitive with internal peers and have an organizational sense of “I win if, they win; and, if they win, I win.” They’re likely to believe “life is great” and can be enthusiastic about anything – and don’t believe enthusiasm results because of the external task being worked on. This is something many people struggle to understand, thus putting their personal interests before the organization’s. People with “innocent wonderment” tend to be enthusiastic most of the time.
How Will the Quality of Wonder Affect the Way You Hire?
Wonder will create a culture that values introspective growth and a positive attitude toward daily tasks – which creates harmony for the organization.
People who “wonder” naturally learn voraciously and, most importantly, share that knowledge. This uplifts the people around them and sets an example for others to improve and do the same.
In studying 24,000 people at dozens of companies, Dr. David Logan – author of Tribal Leadership, the framework on which Zappos built its world-renowned culture and with which legendary basketball coach Phil Jackson led world-class athletes to 11 NBA championships – concluded that top-performing organizations are made of people whose behavior toward (and relationships with) their peers are driven by a collective selflessness and love for living that creates a healthy and sustainable organizational culture – with “innocent wonderment” being the top behavior trait.
If someone has a high score in “wonder,” they’ve achieved a level of inner self-actualization and satisfaction that creates a sense of contentment that mitigates the risk of them leaving the organization. This doesn’t mean they’ve achieved their external potential yet, but have high self-esteem and know they’ll reach their peak in due time.
The risk for which wonder mitigates is “contentment and satisfaction” in one’s vocation, lot in life, and place in the world – which often makes millennials discontented in their jobs.
Therefore, people with wonder are more likely to remain content and satisfied for longer periods of time.
New hires entering the work force (and leaving jobs after 18 months, on average) and people with wonder are less likely to “hop around” for external advancement. These are people who could stock shelves at Zappos for two years and make a good time of it – people who don’t even realize they’ve advanced to manager and VP because, in their mind, stocking shelves and being VP are the same subjective experience – just different day-to-day tasks.
Your people are your most important assets and determine how your organization operates each day. It can be a happy and healthy force for sustainable growth and innovation – where people’s knowledge and sharing benevolently drive it forward as a cohesive team. Transparency, internal coaching of peers, and fluid communication make these things align – and hiring for wonder is the best way to make that happen.