How Peers Can Compromise Your Work Rate

When you’re trying to stay focused on your goals and work hard, one of the hardest challenges is the work rate of your peers.


This is most common for sales people starting out either in selling or in a new role. They hammer away at their selling activities, making the gruelling cold calls, doing networking events, dropping in at customers, making sales pitch after sales pitch and winning some business but losing others on their way. They get to a stage of slight discontent thinking “is this going to work out in the end?!”


As they plug away with veracious work rate they look around at some of their peers and see many of the top sales people in the business working in a rather contradictory manner. Their work rate couldn’t be further removed, they’re not proactive, they’re not conducting any of the selling activities like cold calling, they’re simply waiting at the end of a phone for a call or an email from their customer base to place more orders.


The effect this has is what psychologists call deindividuation. Psychologist David G. Myers defined this as “doing together what you would not do alone.” Deindividuation happens when an individual is seduced to follow a groups behaviour or actions. It can work both positively and negatively, for instance on a positive front take a fitness class such as spinning. Deindividuation can lead to an individual pushing themselves harder within a group than they would without them.


But there’s a negative side too. What deindividuation in essence does is take away your inhibitions, sometimes morals, and even fear of accountability. It’s the reason why bad or good behaviour within a group can spread like a virus. If you walk into an office and everyone is procrastinating then you’ll have to fight with the unconscious stimuli to procrastinate too. Conversely if you walk into an office and every sales person is hitting the phones dial after dial then deindividuation is going to push you to follow their lead.


This is one of the reasons why in our coaching we talk to individuals about their self-control and compound work rate, making them aware of deindividuation and how to avoid it. Additionally when we talk to businesses we’re trying to promote practices to encourage positive collective behaviour. As with deindividuation if we can get a group conducting positive activities like cold calling then that behaviour will snowball to other individuals and unconsciously push them to do the same.


The tip here is don’t be influenced from your peers. You don’t know what their goals are, they might be happy with the number that they sell, if so good for them but that’s not you. The pitfall many new sales people make is that they justify this type of attitude as the norm, but all they’re seeing is the here and now. That lazy sales person whom is at the top can’t have always had this attitude, at some point in the past he must have put in the grind and now he’s taking it easy. You may have not seen the years of grind he put in to get where he is now. What I can assure you of though is that if you stay true to your cause, keep putting in the work then the benefits of what we call compound work rate will pay off and you’ll soon surpass your peers.

Sometimes being different and the lone wolf that perseveres is the hardest and most noble thing to do, especially when those around you don’t have such will. Those rare few, whom restrain from letting their work rate be compromised by their peers are the sales icons of any business.


I’m conscious it gets hard and at times your will power may start to falter. In such circumstance, focus your mind on what empowers you, why you wake up in the morning and what you strive for. I myself think of my wife and my unborn child, and everything I want for them and their lives.

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