What’s the danger of doing it “wrong?”

You know the old saying about the doing things the right way and the wrong way…

Is that true anymore?

What I mean is it seems that the wrong way is not as scary as it once was, that failure is acceptable – it’s part of the learning process. Just learn how to “pivot.”

On the other hand, there are certain disciplines that don’t have any room for failure. Brain surgery, for example. And skydiving instruction. Obviously.

So… those are the extremes. But what about us?

Is it really possible to survive AND do it the wrong way? Go one step further – can we thrive and do it the wrong way?

My experience says yes.

I see many companies doing it the wrong way for years – and still making tons of money.

Look at cable TV.

Massive relics of a bygone reality, they are money-making machines that have some of the worst customer ratings in all of business. They are literally waiting to be gobbled up by the wireless carriers, but their executives are still getting bonus checks.

Look at Facebook.

One of the hottest tech stories of this century so far, and yet just last week, the UK government shared private emails that exposed Facebook as the money-grubbing, privacy-exploiting monster we all wondered that it was. Meanwhile, its stock price soared (peaking at over $200/share in July – it has since dropped to the $130s, but that will bounce back).

Look at start-ups.

Roughly two-thirds of the fastest growing start-ups fail, according to the Kauffmann Foundation.

They clearly have something right, in order to spark their rapid rise. And they clearly have something missing, which ultimately shuts their doors.

What is the lesson here? Can we truly thrive and do it the wrong way?

No, not if your definition of thrive means to be sustainable.

There is clearly a right way and a wrong way, and I have to say that it matters.

It matters because even when the money is coming in, the business may actually be hurting itself in the long-run.

It matters because the people who work there, and the customers who do business there, should be creating and experiencing as much value as possible. That is what we call “good business.” It invests in itself and it ultimately invests in the community. But folks don’t always use that as their definition of success. They look at the money and think, “We are good enough.”


My area of expertise is sales enablement. That means that I am really good at helping companies identify where their sales content, tools, and behaviors aren’t aligned and driving better customer experiences.

Ultimately, this turns into revenue growth and scalability.

But too often, I see businesses that aren’t even aware that there is a right way and wrong way to do sales enablement. The result? They don’t get the sales outcomes that they wanted. Worse yet, they are most likely getting worse results than if they didn’t do anything at all.

Why is this? Because they didn’t pause long enough to think through the impact of doing it the wrong way. They didn’t understand the dependencies and relationships involved. Instead, they did familiar initiatives in the hope that they would make a difference – without causing too much disruption.

In other words, they weren’t focused on doing it the right/wrong way. They were only focused on doing it the only way that they knew.

What about you? Based on your expertise, are you seeing your customers doing it the right way –  or the only way that they know?

More importantly, is your own organization doing it the right way –  or the only way that it knows?

I mua. Onward and upward.

By Tim Ohai

PS – If you or someone you know needs to get better performance from the sales team, let’s set up a conversation to talk about it. Get on my calendar here.

If you think that I should be talking with someone else at your business, simply forward this blog. Feel free to cc me and make it a proper introduction.

Thank you. Seriously.

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