|What do these three things have in common? Not much until you understand the stories of Jiro and Jerry. Jiro was born in Japan in 1925. He left home at the age of nine, and has been making sushi ever since. Jiro runs Sukiyabashi Jiro – a sushi restaurant located next to a subway station in the basement of an office building in Tokyo. It contains only 10 seats and has no menu. A meal there consists of about twenty pieces of sushi served one at a time, and lasts only fifteen to twenty minutes.
A reservation at Sukiyabashi Jiro is considered one of the hardest to obtain in the world (requiring a booking up to one year in advance) and a meal prepared by Jiro will cost you 30,000 yen, or about 370 dollars.
Jerry was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1954. After obtaining a degree in in communications and theater, he developed an interest in stand-up comedy. Jerry honed a unique comedic style specializing in observational humor and in 1989 created a television show “about nothing” which revolutionized the sitcom paradigm and propelled him to stardom.
Ten years later he reportedly turned down $5 million per episode to continue Seinfeld for a tenth season. In 2009 Forbes listed Jerry as the highest grossing comedian of all time.
So what do Jiro and Jerry have in common? Each is a Master of His Domain. Both men have literally achieved the pinnacle of success within their respective fields, and are widely regarded as the very best at what they do.
In his recent article, From Seinfeld to Sushi: How to Master Your Domain, Jeff Weiner observes a number of habitual similarities bewteen Jiro and Jerry, including an obsession with practice and repetition, a never ending persuit of perfection, and a Zen-like approach to their work.
Neither individual was born predestined for greatness. It was earned. The Japanese term Shokunin means “he who embodies the artisan spirit of the relentless pursuit of perfection through his craft.” This relentless pursuit of perfection is what lifts Jiro to a level above any other “good” Sushi chef and elevates Jerry to a legendary status among all comedians.
As sales professionals, we should think about how we approach our duties. Do we view our job as “just a job” or is it a craft to which we dedicate ourselves? What tools have we been given to practice and refine our routines? Are we disciplined in our approaches? Are we passionate? Do we sweat the details? Each time we do something, do we do it better than the last?
As the stories of Jiro and Jerry illustrate, one is not born a master of one’s domain. It is through focus, dedication and (perhaps most importantly) practice that one can achieve success – whether making sushi, telling jokes, or closing sales.