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Four Laws for Transformations (A Note to Leaders)

I started this week at Gerhard’s Sales 2.0 Conference in Philadelphia. G puts on a heck of a good show, and I always learn a lot. I was there to speak on Big Data, but I spoke on Little Data.

Gerhard pushed all of us to share our best ideas about sales transformations. And he started at the speaker’s dinner on Sunday night. Here are the four big ideas I shared from my experience.

  1. Changing things isn’t a transformation. To transform you have to change from “this” into “that.” You know, like from transactional to consultative. From selling product to selling outcomes. From product to services. These ideas are on opposite ends of a continuum. But without a goal, changes aren’t necessarily meaningful change. What are you transforming into and from what?
  2. Know why you are transforming. If you want your change initiative to succeed, you have to provide a compelling reason to go with your future vision. But, seriously, why transform? Sometimes there is a good reason to turn everything and everyone upside down. But sometimes all you really need to produce results is execution and accountability. What’s really missing?
  3. Your transformation isn’t someone else’s transformation. Your company is in a different place. You have a different culture. You have a different strategy. Your company has a completely different DNA. Even though your challenges may be the same as someone else’s, that doesn’t mean that your path forward is the same as theirs. Your path is your own. One path fits one.
  4. Your progression from “this” to “that” is a continuum. As much as you want a radical change and a clean break from what you are, it doesn’t work that way. You have to install a new mindset (read: NOT EASY!). Then you have to help your people obtain the necessary skills (read: INVEST TIME and NOT EASY!). And then you have to put those changes to work. Imagine you are a car sliding on the ice. You turn the wheel into the slide and hit the brakes, but it takes a while to catch. That’s transformation.

Transformation isn’t easy, whether it be personal or a whole organization. It’s more than just a change. But to succeed, you need a compelling reason why, that it’s personal to you, and you need to know where you are going.

Questions

Are you really transforming? Or are you just making changes? What do you believe to be the difference?

Why is a transformation necessary? What forces are compelling you?

Is your transformation your own? Are you following someone else’s path?

What does the continuum look like? Where are you now? How do you move forward?


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