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Sales leadership in 140 characters – thoughts on leadership from Biz Stone

By Janet Spirer

Sales leadership in 140 characters – thoughts on leadership from Biz Stone image Star Trek TOS logo 2

Interviewed by the Washington Post on leadership, Biz Stone – Twitter co-founder – was asked to define leadership in 140 characters. His response? Leadership can be defined as good communication plus confidence without ego.

When drilling down on that thought, he shared a longer version of the answer – and by his own admission, a more nerdy one:

“One of my favorite episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” is when the captain and the doctor are stranded alone on this planet, and their brains are linked by some kind of alien device so they can read each other’s thoughts. They’re trying to get somewhere and the captain says, “We’re going this way.” And the doctor says, “You don’t know which way to go, do you?” Because she can read his thoughts.

He explains to her that sometimes part of being a leader is just picking a way and being confident about it and going, because people want to be led. I remember that episode, because it rang really true to me.

Sometimes you just have to lead, even if you don’t have all the answers. Because in today’s world rarely do you have all the answers. If you think you have all the answers, then you’re probably deciding too late or have grossly over simplified the issue. Good leadership means being willing to have the confidence to move forward, even if you don’t have all the answers.”

We thought this lesson from Star Trek applied not only to the world of Twitter but also Sales.

When companies go through transformational shifts they change what the buy, how they buy and what they are willing pay for it. Sales leadership needs to respond to the new realities. So, it struck us that what Biz Stone had to say about the importance of confidence, communication and lack of ego was indeed a good meme for many sales leadership teams.

In times of rapid change, sales leaders cannot immobilize their sales teams because they don’t have all the information to remove all doubts before making a decision. Sales leaders must remember their sales teams are looking towards them to lead – to clearly communicate a strategic direction so they can translate that direction into action at the account level.