Own the Change
By: Guest Blogger Henning Schwinum, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Vendux
“Why do we have this step in our sales process?”
In a recent conversation with a Sales Leader, she shared her frustration about a new executive team member who was using executive team meetings to question many of the established practices. For example:
“Why do we have this step in our sales process? It does not advance the sale and is wasting our reps' time."
Her go-to response was to dive deep into the history, explain how the process was built, and why this step had to be part of it. In short, she was becoming defensive. And increasingly so with every question raised.
The Only Constant in Life Is Change - Heraclitus
I have been there. I have owned processes that I helped to build in a business that I considered mine since I had been there from the very beginning. It is really hard to shed those blinders labeled "experience" and be open to a suggestion from a newcomer, aka an outsider.
Jory MacKay describes this well: “The hardest thing about all of this is that it’s almost nearly impossible to see. We create our worldview through our past experiences and hardwire our brains to assume that future events will mirror the past. In this way, our experiences can easily become blinders, blocking us from seeing the endless (and often better) options just out of sight.”
Pride and ego do not help, either. The pride of having built something, of having seen it perform well, of having solved a real problem and contributed to the growth of the business. All of this stands in the way of innovation. It is easy to say, “what worked well yesterday does not automatically work well today.” But it is really hard to put it to work.
The recommendation I gave to the Sales Leader was to simply respond by saying:
“Thank you. Let me think about this and get back to you.”
This is not a deflection, and I encouraged her to definitely get back to the executive within a day or two. However, it avoids becoming defensive and allows for reflection. And whether the response includes a change to the sales process or not, it allows the Sales Leader to own the change. It allows her to report back on the review and the possible changes, why the action was taken, and how it bettered the business.
Instead of appearing defensive and change-resistant, she now is the hero.
In their new book, the Friedman's call to action is this: “Identify a cause that you are passionate about, accept responsibility for it, surrender, and then step up to get involved.”
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Jory MacKay - Your Past Experiences Are Blinding You
Sylvia Yu Friedman & Matthew - Be the Hero: Be the Change
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