Ian’s blog – Unfreezing: The transformation case for change that melts the status quo

My previous blog was about the process of unfreezing, change and refreezing that needs to take place in a sales transformation that’s sustainable. The very idea of worrying about unfreezing can seem strange to some. Why not just go straight to the future state, the place the leadership team want to get to? It’s because each individual will want to know what’s in it for them to change, right now, because it takes effort, and involves major risks for them that they’d rather avoid, no matter what the upside.

So, the unfreezing proper, the melting, starts when the leadership collectively acknowledge that they have an urgent and compelling vision for change and are able to structure that in a simple and consistent way so that the whole team “gets it”. But how to do this and even why bother?

Consider the following: in a recent engagement, with a major organisation undergoing complete sales transformation, the leadership team were united in seeing the need for radical change in how they sell, moving from “shifting boxes” to understanding what the customer’s business needs are and making the connections to the solutions that my client could sell to them. Dig deeper though and everyone expressed the need to change differently and nobody could succinctly do the elevator pitch that was convincing on “why change now, today?”

So we agreed to build a detailed case for change. What does this have in it? It needs to have the evidence, the financial data, the history and trends, that show what’s been going on, so that it’s clear to everyone that this is part of a pattern, that they will have seen for themselves in different ways. It also needs to connect emotionally to every single person. The best way I know is to align on a simple, one sentence vision for how to bring more value to your customers.

This case for change was shared in a kick-off for the combined sales management community. The effect was pretty electric. Firstly, everyone could see that the leadership team were clearly aligned and passionate about the same case for change. The simple summary of why change now, the vision for the future and the key elements of the change was clear and fairly unarguable – staying as is was not an option, as the numbers showed.

What happened next was amazing: people took the new vision, started putting it their email autosignatures, talking to the teams to use in for sales calls and meetings, to generate new customer conversations. Results then follow. Such a different place to “why don’t my sales people get where we’re going?” which I hear time and time again.

Have you got such a case for change? How could a leadership team aligned on this start to unfreeze and transform your organisation’s performance?

In the next article…, I will continue this journey of real change that sticks. If you would like to get into dialogue on this article or the wider topic of really transforming sales, please comment, or send me messages and emails.

 

 

Image Source: pippalou, DSCN6666.jpg from Morguefile.com

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