The Role of Roles in Business

Our meetings get mightier and meatier! Every Cross Coaching™ event provides the opportunity to enter into the ethers of the mind to reconnect its fibers and better connect with people who often become friends.

We took a deeper look at the roles we play today. The rigid roles, relaxed roles, required roles and even some roles that may need to be replaced.

Floyd (who we welcomed back from recent health challenges) is a very successful franchisor and provider of capital resources. He set the foundation by reminding us how important  having a role is to most people. Most businesses succeed when people play the different roles required of the team assembled for that business to succeed. Having a role and knowing it contributes matters.

Yet, studies tell us that over 60% of people are dissatisfied with the role or job they have at work and force themselves to act the role expected of them and endure the frustrations. They play the game, wondering if their role matters, as I did years ago as a Corporate Travel Manager. Part of my role entailed entering the executive suite to deliver to the demon (the CEO and Owner) a travel budget update and meetings, convention and corporate incentive trips proposals. I had to focus, like a demon, on the role I needed to play to deal with the demon. After I left his office I could be myself again – which is what truly mattered to me!

I frequently stress to my Cross Coaching™ members how critical it is to see that everyone’s role is to discover their true role. To identify a self they like enough for it to be their permanent role (that they consciously develop over time). One that transcends all other temporary roles required of them.

Greg N. agreed that playing the game of maintaining a role that is not truly you is rarely constructive. As an insurance advisor his assumed role is to advise! Greg doesn’t want to be seen as an advisor who has a lot to say, but as one who has a lot to ask! He believes that any prescription given without a diagnosis is malpractice! By asking questions he can gain an understanding of the role his potential client is in and know which one he should then be in to help her.

The mistake, Floyd responded, is that we all tend to try and size people up in advance. A game I think we too easily play, unconsciously or otherwise, that becomes a habit.

The role of any topic debated at Cross Coaching™ is to put us back on alert as to how we conduct our business and the business we call life. To conduct both consciously, not automatically, so as to not fall into societal or business patterns then later wonder why neither we nor our business grow.

Beverly said she experienced having to play certain roles during her corporate career. She was told what to sell and how to sell it, then expected to perform.  A family tragedy brought her back to her self. She avoids playing roles now and strives to be genuine in all circumstances. It shows!  A return to ‘self’ is a common occurrence at Cross Coaching™.

It was agreed that roles or labels can mislead. Whether you see yourself as an advisor, educator, collaborator, or even a student keen to discover who others are beneath the perceived role you have of them – labels mislead!

Ignore the tendency to categorize, box or frame people, instead mindfully focus on encouraging them to be clearer about and better at understanding when they are playing a role and when they are in their role! Help people gain that clarity by investing in a “committed conversation” that seeks honest outcomes not solely a sale or a result that gets one closer to a goal; a goal that doesn’t serve those engaged in that conversation because it doggedly sticks to the roles of salesperson vs. client, or boss vs. employee. The roles won out but did the people playing them – really?

Dare to honor your own role; by doing that you potentially leave space for whoever you are present with to do the same. Playing roles that aren’t ours sends signals to others that can be read by those aware enough and either leads to the other person feeling he must adopt a role in order to keep you comfortable in yours, or be honest and dare to exert an honest role and be unattached to the outcome and whether it leads to a sale, target or goal met.

Ana Maria nailed it with her comment. If value is provided roles don’t matter! Whether, like Trenton,  you are still navigating which role you want to or have to play as a new business owner; or know, like Tyrone, that you can play any role circumstances demand.  Tyrone gave us a gem too. He believes in ‘inner standing’ not just understanding. Precisely what I promote. Gain that inner stand and let it be where you place your banner to take a stand in the outer world.

Guy gave us a balanced reality check by reminding us that roles should change – while still maintaining the role we are clear about as our truth. We play different roles in order to acquire a client, to oversee his project, to collect payment for it. All different roles that, as Gloria stated, require flexibility.

Roles should never be rigid, yet we all fall into preconceived characteristics we assign to them. Salesperson, customer, leader, boss, teacher, apprentice, entrepreneur, networker, Mom, Dad! By continual self-development we can craft and update ourselves and our role, seeking one out that can transcend any other role and one we can stamp on any role required of us. But, don’t craft that role without leveraging on ‘committed conversations’ with people who can help you hone your self-perceived role and the role they really see you playing – into one that is clearly you.

Roll with the changes and know you will have to change roles constantly, but know the value of the role that is the foundation of who you are then all other roles are just that: roles used in the course of business to conduct business. Yet by willingly revealing the role upon which you platform all other roles, you invite a committed connection to emerge from your committed conversation. You provide value, no matter the role!

And finally, avoid rigid roles that encase you like instructions on a box. Stretch yourself! Be like an actor (that must lose himself in his role) who, keen to avoid being typecast, digs deep to unearth fresher layers of awareness that surface as previously unknown roles. Roles that then make him an intriguing in-demand ‘player’ in any segment of the community; an unlimited ever-flexible, ever-developing role we might all strive for that better serves any audience you have!

Peter Gibson – Realtor, Speaker, Author, Creator of Cross Coaching™

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