Do You Have THE Secret Ingredient for Superior Performance?

THE Ingredient

Can there be just one personal characteristic that sets high performance sales professionals apart from the mass of mediocre performers? One personal characteristic that is so important that there can be no exceptional performance without its mastery? As my grandfather used to say, “Yes sirree bobtail”.

This one personal characteristic is the foundation for the mastery of all other skills. It is so important that I recommend to my private clients that they hire no sales person who lacks this particular characteristic.
Other personal characteristics like self-starting, resilience, self management, results oriented, goal achieving, and inter personal skills are all important for sales success but they are not THE MOST IMPORTANT.

What is this “alpha dog” of all personal characteristics?

It’s PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY – otherwise known as the ability to be answerable for one’s own actions.
It’s easy to spot sales people who have it because they focus on questions such as “What can I do about this?” rather than make excuses for the lack of results. They have a sense of ownership and involvement in creating results and consequently they make choices that contribute to progress. Sales people who have it live by the motto, “if it is to be – it is up to me”.

Sales people with high personal accountability do not wait to be prodded. In times of change – like we are in now – they are proactive and are willing to change their thoughts, attitudes and behaviors to achieve their desired results. They spend their time looking for solutions not pissing and moaning about how bad things are. If they find themselves lacking a necessary skill to get a job done, they will read a book, take a course, ask questions or otherwise locate whatever resources will help them acquire the skill to get ‘er done. In short, salespeople with personal accountability are focused on whatever actions and choices will get results.

“My research into superior performers has shown that 100% of the time, these are people who have a strong sense of personal accountability,” says Bill Bonnstetter, founder and chairman of the board of Target Training International. “For example, my entrepreneur research has shown that 60% of serial entrepreneurs have experienced at least one business failure on their way to success. People who are without personal accountability would have given up after that first failure. But serial entrepreneurs keep going until they make it. As a result, they create multiple businesses that provide employment for others.”

Personal accountability makes a person resilient. Even when they’re confronted with a total failure in their personal or professional life, they will get back on their feet again. No matter how hard they are knocked down, they won’t stay down because they are determined. They don’t blame and they don’t procrastinate. They are the least likely of anyone to rely on others to get themselves going again.

People with a high level of personal accountability focus on the how, what and when, not on who and why. They ask themselves, “What can I do?” They take ownership of their lives and accept 100% responsibility for whatever condition they find themselves in.

Doug Bryan

Good article….if you keep at it, someday your articles will be as good as Jake’s!

Talk to you soon!

Richard Lindsey

Wow Steve, right between the eyes.

Steve Clark


We use word press and it does a good job of filtering spam out.

Steve Clark


Thanks for the comment. This is a hard pill for most folks to swallow.


That makes perfect sense. When I sit back and think about the go-getters and entrepreneurs that I know it fits. Hard part is in the interview process or checking out a potential sales candidate – seems hard to know if that have this attribute or not. Sometimes you don’t find out until its too late..

Jose Chavez

Steve, I always thought I was personally accountable until i followed your suggestion and looked in the mirror and made the decision that I was were I was at because of me and it was up to ME to change it. Thanks,

jeff martin

Steve, good article. Remember the first responce should be HOW CAN I HELP YOU.

Steve Clark

You are absolutely right Jose!

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