When it comes to sales, perhaps the biggest challenge a buyer is wary of is the risk to his / her job. Selection of a product or service can have consequences to the results of a key initiative. The success of the selection can help a mid-level manager rise to a leadership position—the ability to usher in a transformation. Or, the poor results of a selection (or the grander transformation, for that matter) can stall a career, if not end it for at least the current company. The bigger the selection, the transformation, the more visibility and interest in its results. Will this investment return the ROI as expected? But that self-preservation holds back progress.

Self-preservation can come in the form of staying stagnant because it’s known. The risks are mitigated. The upsides, though can be great, comes with greater risk of the “what if it fails?”. But, self-preservation can also come in the form of focus on the self when things go well and the shift of focus onto others when things go poorly. Self-preservation can be the focus of accelerating the individual over the collective. It’s dangerous. It creates a “me vs. everyone” view. It risks the progress of the collective. It can be that undercurrent that works against the larger wave.

It comes in many forms and can be hard to spot. A lot of times, we’re doing it ourselves. It might not even be one person. It can be a breakaway set of peers. It can be not sharing the status or progress of what is occurring. It can be holding onto the keys to other people, other opportunities—that need to be known as “THE” person that everything must go through. It’s information holding, not sharing. It’s not power. It’s a bottleneck.

Self-preservation does not allow us to grow together. It creates riffs and politics. It prevents transformations from taking hold for the collective progression.