The same old, same old isn’t working anymore. Change, anyone?

By William Seidman I just had a great conversation with an exceptional Learning & Development (L & D) manager. We’d been asked to work with a well-known high tech to help convert their sales force from very transactional product selling to more transformational solution selling. Each of the six people involved recognized the need to make the change. But when we started to try to schedule the initial Discovery session, transactional pressures (the numbers!) were so strong that even the people who really did want to do the change, couldn’t find an OK time to develop a solution selling best practice. Then the company decided that the best way to learn to do solution selling was to reorganize the entire function into more tightly focused work groups. So instead of focusing on becoming more transformational and building a solution selling capability, the participants  got more narrowly focused and transactional. Progress stalled. Our manager’s comment was that, under the uncertainty of the re-org, people were narrowing their focus even though the goal was to gain a broader focus. Her more general comment was that when people get frightened, they tend to become less open to new ideas and trying new things. Things aren’t working well, which provokes anxiety, which seems to reinforce people’s intransigence. Not a good scenario. Suggestions, anyone?]]>

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