From the first time I heard our CTO say the word I was intrigued. From the context, I was able to relate the word to “understanding” or “comprehension”, but my curiosity remained. So I explored and discovered the epic Sci-Fi novel “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein as the source. The book was so cool, so far ahead of its time, I predict a movie in the near future – more than 50 years from its first print! So cool, in fact, that Iron Maiden recorded a song about it.
But what does it mean to “grok” something and why is it important? The basic definition of grok is to understand something (or someone) at the deepest level possible. The concept is based upon a human born and raised on Mars who returns to Earth at 18 years of age. More context here.
As we proceed in this world of fragmented, supersonic information – all the old media plus the internet, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and hundreds of other channels – it’s becoming extremely difficult to know what’s what, when and how. This in combination with near elimination of critical thinking skills in “modern education” will make it virtually impossible to deeply understand subject matter.
In a business context, I cannot tell you how many times I hear from executives that Salespeople they meet did not take the time to research their business or review their background before the meeting. Job hunters are also guilty. One SVP related that of over 40 interviewees, only 1 downloaded the mobile application (for an Engineering job on that app) in preparation. Sick! (in a bad way, Millennials)
These developments present a tremendous opportunity for the hungry, innovative and motivated among us to step up and achieve success! If you’re able to “grok” your customers (time for Social Addiction) before you call them, you’ll get the meeting. If you grok them during the meeting, your preparation and knowledge will facilitate a genuine, productive exchange. And if you grok them after the meeting and the sale, you’re likely to earn a Customer, maybe even for life.
It’s not easy to grok it, but the pursuit will make you a valuable asset and a true partner to your prospects and eventual Customers…and after all, that’s why we do what we do, isn’t it?
Do you (really) Grok it?