by Terry Ledden
I had the privilege of addressing several hundred company Presidents, Owners and Managers at a recent client conference. My talk, “Going Supersonic with Sandler,” recognized the joint mission both Sandler and our clients share; driving sustainable changes in sales behavior that out sell the competition while establishing new performance precedents in their industry.
My talk provided the group with WHAT they should do prior to introducing any type of change requiring the buy-in and individual adoption of those involved.
Staying true to our own practice involving change I first had to make the case as to WHY the audience should buy-in and adopt our approach to change within their own management process. To score maximum acceptance of WHAT we’ve been doing and HOW we’ve been doing it for the past several years with our clients here in North America, required that I first make the case as to WHY.
As validation of our approach to optimizing change, Simon Sinek, author of “Start with Why,” makes the case that early adopters first buy the WHY, and that the WHAT and HOW are secondary. Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Here’s our formula for launching high velocity change that breaks the gravitational pull of “resistance” and maximizes sustainability.
Change Velocity (CV = Rate of Change) is approximately equal to the Purpose (P) of the Change and it’s level of Management Clarity (MC) plus the level to which employees are involved in the change (EE = Employee Engagement) divided by the Fear of Failure (FoF) of those affected.
Consider the following key change principles:
- State the reasons for the change in as clear a way as possible. Most important, answer the question WHY. Include the consequences to both the organization and the individual of not changing.
- Identify the actions management will undertake to demonstrate a level of commitment that will not wane or waiver. Remember your message will be subject to the gravitational force of skepticism. Resistors will be banking on the probability that “this too shall pass.” The more that management is actively involved in the change, the more permanent the change will appear to be to all those involved. In a training rollout, the degree to which management is participating in the training sends an important message to the employee.
- Actively involve the employee in the development of the rollout plan. Enroll key influencers and opinion leaders in the process. Give thorough consideration to the value – benefits for the employee (WIFM) and position it appropriately.
People have varying emotional reactions to change due to the rate of disruption it brings to the predictability of our lives. Those impacted by change begin to question:
- How will this affect me?
- Will I still be recognized as a top valued player on the team?
- Will I be able to perform within the new approach?
- What if I can’t change?
- I’m a top performer. Why do I have to change?
As change leaders, we have an obligation to our team to address these questions and the underlying related fear of failure. Allow your team to vocalize their resistance. Hear them out. Challenge them with the “What if?” question. “What if this did actually work, what could that make possible for you, personally.”
While I’m not an advocate of failure, give your people permission to not be perfect in executing the required change. Strive for excellence, performing at your best. Contain criticism that targets shortfalls from perfection.
Why change? In the absence of a meaningful answer to that question, the best we can hope for is an intellectual understanding of “WHAT” or “HOW” it needs to be. People act and respond in a manner consistent with HOW they feel about WHAT they need to do. HOW they feel is a function of the quality of the knowledge and information you provide … or in other words, the WHY.
Terry Ledden is a twenty-five plus year sales performance consultant, trainer and coach and ten year award winning member of the world recognized Sandler Training organization. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org