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The Key Ingredient for Transformation

Training won’t give you transformation. Neither will consulting. Meetings won’t be enough. All of these things and more may be necessary, but they are not sufficient.

There is one thing that you need if you are going to transform your sales organization (or your business), and that one thing is the leader’s will.

Meet the Resistance

The status quo has more defenders than you have proponents. The support that the advocates of the status quo have for “the way things are” runs deeper than the support you have for your transformation.

  • The Active Opposition: Some of those who oppose your transformation will actively work against you. They will do things to ensure that the status quo remains. The active opponents will seek to sow the seeds of discontent among their peers, and they will build a coalition of the unwilling to thwart your efforts.

Without the will to demand that the active opponents cease their opposition, your transformation will fail.

  • The Patient Opposition: Richard Nixon used to complain that he couldn’t get his State Department to do what he wanted them to do. Nixon measured his timeline in election cycles. The people employed at the State Department measured their timeline in terms of their career. They would be there after Nixon. Some people will simply try to wait out your transformation. They’ve seen your kind come, and they’ve seen you go.

If you don’t enforce your will, your transformation will fail, in part, because too many people will wait for its failure.

  • The Producers: Everyone wants to protect the people who produce results, and this is nowhere more true than in sales. Many a transformation has failed because the top producers whine and complain that they have to change. Sometimes they gripe about change even when it is in their best interest, and even when it helps them financially. Everyone fears that the producers won’t go along, but this is rarely true. They want to be heard and persuaded.

If you don’t spend time building consensus with the top producers, you won’t gain their support.

The hard truth about transformations is that they succeed or fail based on the leader’s will. The leader has to insist that the changes be made. She has to burn the boats at the shoreline, come what may.

If you want transformation, steel your spine. It’s your will that determines your outcome.

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Filed under: Sales 3.0

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