The Immunity To Change and the Process of Sales, with Bob Kegan – Episode #75

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Anthony was incredibly honored to have Bob Kegan as his guest on this episode of In The Arena. Bob is a psychologist who teaches, researches, writes, and consults about adult development, adult learning, and professional development. The focus of his work is to explore the possibility and necessity of ongoing psychological growth throughout adulthood and to connect the dots between that growth and professional and career development. This is an important conversation with a handful of foundational concepts that every sales professional needs to understand, so be sure you take the time to listen.

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The developmental journey of people and the craft of sales.

When you stop to think about the human experience you begin to realize that not everyone is at the same place of maturity or thinking at the same time. Depending on both age and experiences, we all grow in our capacity to reason, think, and assess what’s going on around us at different paces. That means that you can’t apply a one-size-fits-all approach to any discipline or type of interaction. Each person is more effectively addressed when their stage of development is clear in the mind of those interacting with them. This episode dives into those developmental stages and highlights how an understanding of them can be used to further the conversations surrounding sales decisions.

Why is change so difficult for some people?

Change – whether it has to do with habits or living conditions – is difficult for many people to process and deal with. Some people are so averse to change that they are unwilling to flex in any way when something outside their version of “normal” happens. Bob Kegan calls this “Immunity to Change” and says that it’s developed in a number of ways. But similarly, it can be overcome in a number of ways – and if sales professionals are to make headway in convincing prospects that proposed change is not only necessary but good, they need to understand how to overcome change immunity. Bob Kegan sheds light on the phenomenon on this episode.

Why is change so difficult for some people? Find out on this episode of In The ArenaClick To Tweet

Can an organization have a change immunity?

While it’s clear that individuals often are resistant to change of various kinds, it’s also possible that an entire organizational culture can have the same kind of immunity to change. It’s fashioned through the type of leadership, values, and interactions that are demonstrated within the organization over time and it’s not easy to overcome. On this episode, Bob Kegan discusses the possibility of organizational change immunity and what sales professionals can do to move the needle toward health and needed change, on this episode.

Do you need to change your sales approach?

Many of the salespeople who listen to this episode of the podcast will get bogged down in the minutia of the conversation. It is about developmental psychology, after all. What does it have to do with sales? It has a direct correlation to the effectiveness of a salesperson in understanding prospects and clients and thereby addressing them according to their place in the human developmental process. Are you willing to learn some fairly deep stuff for the sake of upping your sales game? Will YOU change to ensure that you’re not spinning your wheels by trying the same things that don’t work, over and over?

Do you need to change your sales approach? Find out on this episode of In The ArenaClick To Tweet

Outline of this great episode

  • Anthony’s introduction to Bob Kegan, today’s guest.
  • What is a developmental psychologist and what do they study?
  • What science shows about the continued development of the brain into adulthood.
  • How Bob has discovered the deeper realms from which the human mind perceives reality.
  • The general stages through which a human being’s grow over time.
  • Using developmental psychology to address prospects where they are.
  • Discerning stages of growth from an actual pathology.
  • Why people seem to have an immunity to change and what can be done to help them.
  • Do organizations have the same kind of change to immunity?
  • The things Bob has studied that have had the most influence on him.
  • How these things can help you understand your prospects and clients.

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