Get Comfortable with Criticism


In any business, when new ideas bubble up people tend to be attracted to them if they’re at a safe distance, or to reject them if they’re a potential threat. An unfortunate reality is that, while many businesses want to say they’re doing “that innovation thing,” people don’t want to go through any actual changes to their daily practices.

Common responses to new ideas are: “We already tried that,” or, “It won’t get past HR or finance.” As creatures of habit, we naturally defend what’s known.

So how easy is it for you to suggest something new?

Consider this situation: In a large team meeting, you propose a new solution for a client that you believe will lead to increased revenue. It is your creation and you feel vested in it. Within a matter of minutes, everyone in the room has debunked the idea and has moved on to another topic. Would you:

  1. Say very little for the rest of the meeting.
  2. Continue participating in the meeting as you normally would.

A person accustomed to pitching innovative ideas would choose b, and continue participating in the meeting without embarrassment, regret, or anger.

If you’re breaking procedural rules or accepted legacies don’t be surprised if your new idea runs headlong into rejection from your colleagues or customers. In fact, try to get over the surprise and learn to be attracted to rejection. As a sales innovator, you need to embrace both a comfort with feeling lost as you develop your ideas, and a comfort with rejection as you propose them.


Mark Donnolo is the author of “The Innovative Sale” and “What Your CEO Needs to Know About Sales Compensation,” and managing partner of SalesGlobe. Email him at .


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