Tenacity – the art of sticking to your guns.

By Patricia Egen • March 26th, 2013

Tenacity. What a great word. According to Webster, it means “the quality or state of being tenacious.” And Tenacious means, according to Webster, yet again, this:

a : not easily pulled apart
b : tending to adhere or cling especially to another substance
c : persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired

Yes, indeed a great word. The first time I heard a varient of this word was when an ex IBM rep told me I was very tenacious. What she really meant was I was a pain in the behind. But she said it so eloquently. Even though I am very well read, I had to go look up the word and my co-worker said, “you know, she said that because you just won’t let her push you off. You want an answer.”

Ah ha. Light bulb appears above head. And indeed I was being tenacious and wanting an answer. Because my boss at the time wanted one as well. So the question then becomes one of when is it ok to have tenacity and be tenacious and when does it equate to being a royal pain in the posterior.

To this very day (the event noted above happended well over 20 years ago), I am still full of tenacity. If I believe strongly in something, I am like a pit bull and do not waiver. I will listen to good reasons to change my mind – and yes – I actually do change my mind once in a while. But when I feel strongly that we need to move in a certain direction, or do a certain process, or follow a certain procedure, I will stick to my guns. Because I have agonized over the decision and have already come to the conclusion that it is the right way to go.

If someone wants something badly, then one must always be tenacious. We just need to do it gracefully or diplomatically. And that becomes a great idea for a blog article. And here we are. So, how does one be tenacious yet polite? How does one make it clear that this is where they stand and this is what they desire and this is how things are going to be. And still keep the peace?

Well, that’s it. Sometimes you will ruffle feathers. Sometimes you will go against the tide sticking to your guns and wishes. That is when diplomacy comes into play. It is an art to make someone understand and believe that an idea, however unpopular, is the right way to go. We see this a lot in our business. A lot of sales reps are very unenthusiastic when it comes to recording what they have done, whom they have met, who they are going to see and what they will want. But management has said they need to do this. Management is being tenacious in trying to keep a handle on where sales are headed (or not headed, which is really the crux of the issue). This where one does a dance convincing sales reps this is a GREAT idea. It will keep them on track. They will become the world’s greatest salespeople. Well, that might be stretching it a bit. But you get the idea. Someone like us acts as the middle men keeping management happy on one side and sales reps enthusiastic on the other side.

We need to use those same techniques in our own world. And that’s where it gets fun. How many people actually follow their own guidance to their customers? It is the Shoemakers children syndrome. But the sage advice we give to our customers needs to be turned on our businesses.

If an idea is the right way to go, then we need to stick to our guns. No excuses. No alternatives. We all walk the same walk. Even the boss. And at some point, not everyone is allowed to be tenacious. One person needs to be the head “tenacious person” and be the final answer. We watch some companies work like a committee and get stuck in analysis paralysis because someone won’t stick a stake in the ground and say “this is it – this is what we are going to do.” Period. Tenacity.

Such a great word. And it was my inspiration for my blog this week. I asked a couple of people for ideas because I had writers block. Then events around me gave me the inspiration. In fact, I do believe I tweeted that very thing a few weeks ago. Let every day life be your inspiration for tweets and blogs. Inspiration, not perspiration. And stick to your guns. Be tenacious. Such a neat word.

 

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