by Terry Ledden
Sales is a slight-edge game, sometimes the smallest shift in approach, processes or strategy can cause a major improvement in results. However, even the smallest shift can require significant changes in behaviour and attitudes, and that can be a painful exercise indeed.
Some people react positively to change, but most don't. Our reactions can, and often do, adjust and morph throughout the change process as we strive to adapt. We humans don't like change much, for some very sensible and predictable reasons. Here are the reasons why we resist change, and react the way we do.
Would it be helpful to know what these reactions are so you can be prepared?
I thought so.
- Anxiety - will I be able to handle this? The individual sees the change as something outside of his control or range of understanding.
- Denial - Why change? Things are fine the way they are. This reaction can appear at different times. In the initial stages, the individual denies the need for change. His feeling is that things are fine as they are. In the later stages of transition, the individual may deny that any change has even taken place, continuing to operate as she always has.
- Approval - It's about time! Perceiving the current situation to be negative, the individual welcomes change. Even if the present is perceived in a positive light, the individual views change as the possibility for improvement. After all, nothing is perfect.
- Fear - How will this affect me? Perceiving a change to the normal way of doing things, one may fear the impact it will have on her self-perception or how others view her.
- Threat - I'll never be able to do that. This reaction may result when comprehensive change to one's normal behaviour pattern is required. He may view future choice limited and be unsure how he will be able to perform in a new environment with a new set of rules.
- Depressioin - How will I function? Change may cause the individual to be uncertain about what the future holds for him or her and how s/he will fit into the changed environment. This lack of a clear vision of how to operate in the future may undermine the individual's sense of identity and lead to feelings of depression.
- Discontent - This will never work. I'm out of here! This individual views the pending change as incompatible with his goals, beliefs and values and becomes dissatisfied, losing focus and motivation. The individual may withdraw mentally by going through the motions, but with no real commitment. In the extreme, the individual will resign.
- Rebellion - I'll show them. We didn't need to change. The individual ignores the new processes (and may even work to undermine them) and continues to operate in the old manner even though the outcomes are less than successful. This is an extreme form of denial.
- Exploration - This might be a good thing. The individual gradually accepts the change and begins to see the possibilities and how he fits into the new picture in the future.
- Commitment - This can work. The individual rededicates himself to the new behaviours, performing new tasks, and working in new ways to support the company's new direction.