It is something that will happen to you many times during your career. Changes we initiate (taking a new job, losing weight) are easy to deal with. (Well, losing weight may not be easy.) It’s the changes that are generated by others (new territory, comp plan, product line) that are more difficult.
When facing significant change, I’ve seen people naturally divide into three distinct groups:
OPPORTUNITY – This group sees the change as opportunity – for increased earnings, more responsibility, freedom, professional growth. This group runs TOWARD the change, accepting the risk that comes with the unknown, but fueled nonetheless by the energy of discovery. People in this group usually excel in the new environment or at least maintain the strong performance they demonstrated pre-change.
POSSIBILITY – This group sees the change as possibility – for success OR failure. It’s the fear of failure (or sometimes lack of understanding about the change) that prevents them from seeing the opportunity clearly. This group will wait on the shore and many will ultimately join the opportunity group, but not until they see that group generate success. It reduces the sense of risk, allowing them to move forward. But, not all will do so and some slip into the final group.
THREAT – This group sees the change as a threat. They are comfortable only with the status quo. Maybe not actively or overtly, but this group will be resistant to change. It may come in the form of “I need more training” or a decrease in productivity, increase in errors or absenteeism. However demonstrated, people in this group do NOT want to get on the bus with the others.
With the groups identified, we’ll discuss strategies for sellers in managing yourself through change in Part 2.