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What do you do when workplace ‘change’ happens?

For most people, ‘change’ is a mixture of what was, what used to be, what is present, what I’m being faced with now, what I believe the future holds, and what I have to change to face that future.

In short, how does this change affect me, my family, my lifestyle, and my position?

That’s a hell of a lot to think about, and that’s why change is so perplexing, so resisted, and often so fought against.

The answer to this age-old problem was discovered more than a thousand years ago and has been hidden. When Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” he was giving you (and me) the wisdom of his ages, and a thousand years later it is still wisdom of our ages.

SOCRATES REALITY INTERPRETATION: The more you can concentrate your thoughts and actions on what will be tomorrow, the easier it will be for you to accept today, adapt to today, and the less likely you are to dwell on what was.

GITOMER INTERPRETATION: Add ‘forward’ to the word ‘change’ and when something changes, think, CHANGE FORWARD.

Known as ‘drinking fountain conversation’ or ‘pity parties,’ many people, not you of course, spend 74% or more of their time griping, whining, blaming, and lamenting any sort of change. None of these elements will productively move you forward as a person, and all of these elements will keep your mind closed to what your new potential or opportunity might be.

Just so we’re clear, there are 3 predominant types of change to deal with:

  1. Business or career change – which could also affect revenue.
  2. Family change – both positive and negative. We have a new child. I’m getting a divorce. My mother died. I’m getting married.
  3. Personal change – which can be affected by business and family changes, but can also be an issue relating to neither. Think: health and finances.

In order to effectively deal with any change in your life, I recommend that you take a different perspective on looking at it. Mine has always been to look at the circumstance and call it opportunity rather than call it change. That automatically makes you look towards the future. That automatically makes you look at what could be positive. And that automatically, points you in a direction of forward to what’s next, rather than backward to what was. In other words: Change forward.

When I say ‘opportunity’ you immediately think of something good, and subliminally in your mind, you might think, “How can I best take advantage of this opportunity?” rather than thinking, “oh crap the sky has fallen.”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Having a five-year-old child in my life has awakened me to kid’s movies and their lessons. I recommend that each of you go out and buy or rent the movie Chicken Little. It’s a great lesson and will help you come to the conclusion that the sky is not falling. (I only watch kids movies now. Big lessons.)

The next action is for you to identify what the opportunity is, in writing. When you write things down, clarity almost immediately occurs. Writing down what happened will help you understand why it happened and no matter if that why was good or bad, it is now the new reality. Once you’ve identified the history, you have to list at least a dozen good things that can happen as a result of it. The first few will be hard. Especially if there’s any anger or fear attached to your change.

Identifying the opportunities will begin to calm you down and help you realize that with a combination of hope, attitude, and hard work, things will get better.

They did for me. I gave myself permission to move on and move forward. No matter what the change is, keep your eyes and mind open to the opportunity, and keep the faith in yourself.

Don’t fear change, change forward.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.


About the Author

Jeffrey GitomerJeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

We Don’t Really Hear Each Other

We are not always able to accurately hear what others mean to convey. Sometimes we hear only a fraction of what’s been said and our brains misunderstand or bias the rest – and we might not realize it until it’s too late, causing us to believe we’re right and others are wrong, or moving to action using the wrong assumptions. We’re left with restricted communication and creativity, failed relationships, and lost profit. And none of it is our fault.

We try to attend carefully to what’s being said. Yet our pesky brains do some pretty sophisticated stuff, all without our conscious consent: they

  • delete or misconstrue or filter out what sounds wrong or goes against our beliefs or is unfamiliar, then
  • matches what’s left with a historic memory of a ‘similar-enough’ conversation and
  • throws out what doesn’t match that memory.

Whatever is left is what we believe has been said.

In conversations with familiar folks, there is less of a gap; with folks we don’t know, in dialogues that are outside of our habitual knowledge base, or when we enter conversations with a rigid goal, we accurately understand far less of what was actually meant. A problem occurs when we are convinced – certain – that what we heard is accurate, and don’t know when, if, or how, to take measures to fix a problem we don’t believe we have. As a result we unwittingly compromise relationships, business, partnerships, creativity, and success.

With little control over what our brains tell us we’ve heard, we’re left with the fallout:

  • Misunderstandings that remain unresolved because we believe – we’re certain – we’re right;
  • Bad feelings and take-aways caused by misheard communication;
  • Biased assumptions that cause inadequate responses and failed initiatives;
  • Misheard facts that lead to inaccuracies in business, technology, relationships;
  • Restricted creativity, laps in leadership, therapy, coaching, and medical advice.

We misunderstand doctors, make assumptions with our teenagers and vendors, bias communications with family members and colleagues, set up filters before conversations with historic relationships. Our lives are influenced by how accurately we hear what others mean to convey.

But a new book is out that will resolve these problems. What? Did you really say what I think I heard? not only describes how, exactly, our brains create the instinctive actions that limit our ability to hear others without bias or misunderstanding, but also shows how to intervene our automatic behaviors and hear others as they intend to be heard.

Different from books on Active Listening which merely enables listeners to hear words, What? focuses on understanding intended meaning. Using exercises and assessments, funny stories and authentic appeal, New York Times best selling author and StrategyDriven Principal Contributor, Sharon Drew Morgen has written a game changer, a book that thoroughly breaks down every aspect of how we interpret what others mean to tell us, how the understanding gap between Sender and Receiver is created, and the skills to avoid any misinterpretation or bias at all. It’s a book that will be the foremost communication book for decades and the book is being offered for free (no opt in).

Go to www.didihearyou.com where you can get the book, and peruse the learning tools that accompany the book for those wishing to recognize any obstacles with their listening habits (Assessments) or learn how to overcome any bias and misinterpretation issues (Study Guide) that occur during conversations.


About the Author

Sharon Drew Morgen is founder of Morgen Facilitations, Inc. (www.newsalesparadigm.com). She is the visionary behind Buying Facilitation®, the decision facilitation model that enables people to change with integrity. A pioneer who has spoken about, written about, and taught the skills to help buyers buy, she is the author of the acclaimed New York Times Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity and Dirty Little Secrets: Why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it.

To contact Sharon Drew at [email protected] or go to www.didihearyou.com to choose your favorite digital site to download your free book.

Sharon Drew Morgen, NYT Business Bestselling Author, Writes Column for StrategyDriven

 
Sharon Drew Morgen joined StrategyDriven as a Principal Contributor and columnist. Morgen authored the NYTimes Business Bestseller, Selling with Integrity, and will offer StrategyDriven readers advice to help them think about the changes they need to make in order to achieve personal and professional excellence.
 
 
Sharon Drew MorgenNationally renowned executive coach, speaker and author, Sharon Drew Morgen offers StrategyDriven readers insights about how their individual biases cloud their ability to effectively communicate. Sharon Drew imparts invaluable advice to executives and managers at all levels: helping them solve problems, become more effective, and realize a higher measure of business and career success.

“We are thrilled to have Sharon Drew as part of the StrategyDriven team,” says Karen Juliano, StrategyDriven’s Editor-in-Chief. “Her extensive experience and unique perspectives brings invaluable insights to our readers on listening and communications.”

Through her column, Sharon Drew will help StrategyDriven readers overcome the biases hindering their communications so as to enable them to truly understand their impact on their people and organizations. Her articles will help readers boost performance in the mission critical facets of their business; including client communications, vision communications, negotiations, decision facilitation and sales.

About StrategyDriven

StrategyDriven provides executives and managers with the planning and execution advice, tools, and practices needed to create greater organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results. We believe a clear, forward-looking strategy, translatable to the day-to-day activities of all organization members, is critical to realizing success in today’s fast paced market environment. Not only does a compelling, well-executed strategy align individuals to common goals, it ensures those goals best serve the company’s mission.

At StrategyDriven, our seasoned business leaders deliver real-world strategic business planning and tactical execution best practice advice – a blending of workplace experience with sound research and academic principles – to business leaders who may not otherwise have access to these resources. StrategyDriven refers to the family of organizations comprising StrategyDriven Enterprises, LLC. For more information, please visit www.StrategyDriven.com.

It’s The Consensus, Stupid*

Buying decisions happen well before buyers consider your solution regardless of their need or the efficacy of your solution, marketing, or content. In fact, a purchase is the very last thing that occurs in a string of events buyers must handle as they seek to solve a business problem.

One of the first things they must do is assemble the complete Buying Decision Team to garner the consensus necessary for change. Studies from the CEB show that a Buying Decision Team includes approximately 6 decision makers and untold influencers who must achieve consensus before considering how to resolve their problem, whether it’s a purchase or another fix. Let’s look at this from 3 angles:

  1. Buyers don’t initially know who belongs on the Buying Decision Team. The time it takes them to assemble the right people and hear their voices around fixing a business problem is part of the buying decision path. These issues are political, systemic, relational – not focused on need. We are not facilitating the assembly of the team.
  2. An external solution is considered only when there is consensus that an internal problem can’t be resolved with familiar resources. We are not facilitating the systemic discovery process that has little to do with our solution.
  3. An external fix causes disruption. It’s necessary to have consensus as to when, if, or how to bring in a new solution so disruption can be either avoided or planned for. We are not facilitating consensus as it’s unique and systemic.
  4. Any solution – internal change or an external purchase – must address the change management issues that result from anything new entering the status quo. We are not facilitating change but merely offering content on what might be a solution.

Content Is Not King

Content is merely one way the decision makers and influencers can learn about possible solutions when they are ready to begin thinking about options. Other solutions being considered include internal workarounds that will manage the problems more simply. A purchase is merely the very last thing buyers consider. We are limiting our success to a small segment of opportunity and should be facilitating decisions point before pushing solutions.

We can facilitate a buyer’s consensus from sales, marketing, and social, but not with the current sales or marketing models. Add Buying Facilitation® to your sales and marketing and enter earlier by first helping facilitate consensus. It’s not sales, nor is it solution driven – it’s a change facilitation model. But buyers have to do it with you or without you. It might as well be with you. And THEN you can sell your solution.

*Thanks to Bill Clinton: “It’s the Economy, Stupid.”


About the Author

Sharon Drew Morgen is founder of Morgen Facilitations, Inc. (www.newsalesparadigm.com). She is the visionary behind Buying Facilitation®, the decision facilitation model that enables people to change with integrity. A pioneer who has spoken about, written about, and taught the skills to help buyers buy, she is the author of the acclaimed New York Times Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity and Dirty Little Secrets: Why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it.

Contact Sharon Drew at [email protected] and add her Buying Facilitation® model to your sales or marketing solutions. Then you can influence the entire decision path, not just the back end.

Help Buyers Buy: Facilitate The Buy Path, Then Sell

Your solution is the last thing a buyer needs. Literally.

The sales model is a solution placement model. It does a fine job assessing needs, pitching, presenting, and placing solutions. Yet we close no more than 7% of prospects from first call, spend huge amounts of money creating presentations, sites, and marketing materials bring that in a fraction of the business they were designed to, spend inordinate amounts of resource responding to RFPs that fail, and attempting to make appointments with prospects who either reject us or don’t buy. We waste at least 90% of a sales professional’s time. As a result we hire more people and set our budgets accordingly.

We have great solutions. Our sales folks are professionals. What’s the problem?

The problem is that buyers don’t buy the way we sell. In fact, a purchase is the last step buyers take along their buy path, and we sit and wait for them to traverse their steps without having the proper skills to influence their journey from the start.

A Buying Decision is a Change Management Problem

To understand how buyers buy, we must understand systems and change. Buying anything, from a shirt to a company, a training program or a piece of software, is a change management activity. Something that has existed, and worked well-enough for a period of time, will be replaced by a relatively unknown entity. Change. And change is systemic: anything that touches the new element will be affected in an unknown way and potentially mess up the system. And systems won’t abide by disruption; we learned that in 6th grade chemistry.

Like all of us, buyers live in systems; everything within them chugs along together like a set of gears so the system remains stable. Stability – the status quo – gets maintained with rules and processes and job descriptions and relationships. Whatever doesn’t fit within the system gets chucked out because the system is sacrosanct. When there is a problem, the system creates workarounds so it can continue functioning; the problem then becomes part of the tapestry of the system. Only when there is no other option will the buyer face the potential disruption of bringing in something that is outside the system.

In order for buyers to buy and be willing to have something foreign enter their system, they need to first manage systemic change: they must get buy-in for the change, design new rules or roles, replace the old solution in a way that insures equilibrium is maintained, and last but not least, involve the managers, department heads, and sundry people who will touch the ultimate solution – folks not necessarily direct stakeholders or decision makers, but folks whose jobs will be effected by the change. Without managing this change, they will buy nothing, regardless of their need or the efficacy of your solution.

A buying decision is a systems problem. And sales acts as if the buyer’s problem were an isolated event.

Buying Includes a 13 Step Buy-in Change Process

There are unique change management issues that must be addressed before a purchase can occur. Indeed: until there is a clear path to change, there is no way to even know who is a prospect; before every appropriate voice is assembled and heard, there is no way to define a need. As outsiders focused on placing solutions, we have no ability to enter into the buyer’s environment and facilitate these activities because they are idiosyncratic and personal. And the time it takes them to figure out how to manage the backend change is the length of the sales cycle.

We’re currently entering at the end of the decision path: the very last thing a buyer needs is your solution. The last thing. But we can enter earlier. Here’s what we should be facilitating that is currently outside our purview and skill sets:

1. All – ALL – who will touch the new solution must have their voices heard. Usually it takes buyers a while to understand who must be included on the Buying Decision Team. In a small sale, it’s easier than a larger sale, but the process is the same.

It’s possible to facilitate our buyers in both assembling the full Buying Decision Team on the first or second call, and their discovery of the types of systems change they would need to address. They have to do this anyway: helping them speeds up the buying process and gets everyone at the table for an appointment.

2. Before a purchase, every element that would be disrupted needs to know how to compensate for change: tech folks must figure out their new scheduling or find outsourced support; sales and marketing must have a unified strategy to share budget; HR must get the right groups together, etc. It’s unique in each situation, although totally independent of need.
Sellers can use a facilitation model to navigate buyers through their change before they sell, so all areas that will be affected will know how to manage the change and be ready to buy. This speeds up the sales cycles and makes the seller a part of the Team.

9 out of the 13 steps in a buying decision involve systems change and include idiosyncratic, historic, and personal activities. Using only the sales model or marketing, a seller has no place at the table until it’s time to choose a solution. But we’re missing great opportunities to become real relationship managers and trusted advisors and suffering much longer sales cycles than necessary.

Use Buying Facilitation® with Sales

Selling and buying are two different activities. Change the way you are entering. Stop:

  • pitching, presenting, or discussing solutions before buyers have defined their route to change;
  • trying to get an appointment until the entire Buying Decision Team is assembled;
  • assuming because you’ve spoken to one or two people there is a need;
  • assuming that because there’s a need it’s a prospect;
  • basing your sale on your solution;
  • basing your sale on price (it has nothing to do with anything).

Instead, before selling:

  • facilitate excellence and buy-in, from the first call with the gatekeeper;
  • be a neutral navigator throughout the steps of change;
  • help assemble the complete Buying Decision Team (even for a small sale) with you on it;
  • recognize when a system cannot change and when it’s no longer a prospect (it’s got nothing to do with needing your solution).

Buyers don’t need you: they need to solve a business problem. And the business problem involves more of a solution than just your product. It’s time to help buyer’s buy.


About the Author

Sharon Drew Morgen is founder of Morgen Facilitations, Inc. (www.newsalesparadigm.com). She is the visionary behind Buying Facilitation®, the decision facilitation model that enables people to change with integrity. A pioneer who has spoken about, written about, and taught the skills to help buyers buy, she is the author of the acclaimed New York Times Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity and Dirty Little Secrets: Why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it.

Need help developing content, tools, training or questions that will enable a buyer’s buying decision process? A speaker at your next conference? Contact Sharon Drew at [email protected] or visit her website: www.buyingfacilitation.com.