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4 rules for our disruptive age

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You want certainty. You want to know that what you are doing is working and will continue to work in the future. What you really want is a sustainable competitive advantage. But there is no longer anything sustainable about a competitive advantage. The last thing you can expect in this disruptive age is certainty.

Here are four rules to get you through:

1. Be agnostic. You might hate an idea. You might have tried an idea in the past and failed. You might hate some new process, some new methodology or some new “new” thing. You’d be happier with a tried-and-true, predictable, repeatable process that can ensure you work consistently and produce consistent results. Yeah, good luck with that.

The first rule is to take new ideas where you find them. Be agnostic. Don’t reflexively judge ideas. The idea you hate might very well be the idea you need right now. There is no right or wrong idea. There are effective choices and ineffective choices. What was once ineffective might now be effective, and vice versa. So be agnostic.

2. Be flexible. “But that’s the way we’ve always done it.” “This is the only way we do this for our clients.” Let not these words escape your lips!

You live in a disruptive age. Guess what? Your clients live in this disruptive age, too. Just because you’ve done something a certain way in the past doesn’t mean that’s what you’re going to do now—or in the future. You’re going to have to be especially flexible in delivering what your clients want.

Be flexible in what you do and flexible in how you do it. If you want to retain your dream clients, being flexible can make that goal a reality.

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3. Be adaptive. The more successful you are, the easier it is to become rigid. You might want to avoid the conflict and stress that accompanies change. But avoiding the conflict and stress that comes with change isn’t adaptive behavior; it’s maladaptive.

Succeeding (or surviving even) requires that you face the challenges that confront you. Deal with conflict, stress and constraints head on. Attack them and adapt to your changing environment.

Be open to new ideas. When new tools are developed, adopt them into your practice. When new methodologies are developed, explore them and find ways to incorporate what works in your sales game. Adapt.

4. Be courageous. Have the courage to change. Embrace change. It isn’t enough to accept that things are changing; that’s too passive. Those who survive and succeed possess the courage to embrace the disruption.

And it will take courage.

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Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. For more information, go