The “C” Word – Part 3


jeter leader

Management’s responsibility is to lead, and leading people through change is as tough as it gets.  There is a great deal of literature on change management you can easily find, but here we’ll look at this in the context of the three groups discussed in the previous two posts, The “C” Word – Part 1 and The “C” Word – Part 2.

OPPORTUNITY GROUP – You might think this is the easiest group to manage and though in some ways it is, you can’t just let them run with the ball as they might.  As I mentioned in Part 2, sometimes their enthusiasm can get the best of them, causing execution errors.  Activity level will likely be high, but you should watch your CRM system VERY closely. 

  • Is the activity appropriate?  Is your team calling on the RIGHT prospects, or just spreading the word?
  • Are they prioritizing and managing their time effectively?
  • Is the follow up timely, appropriate and consistent?

The part of your team in the Opportunity Group can become peer leaders through their actions, so it’s important that you guide them to show others the way.  The RIGHT way for the company to maximize the success of this change.

POSSIBILITY GROUP – This is likely where you will spend the most time, as those leaning toward the Opportunity Group  need to hear clear, confident leadership from you.  They need to hear that you are not only confident that this is the RIGHT change for the company and presents opportunities for them, but that you are confident in THEM.  Few things are more important to sellers than knowing their boss believes in them and supports them.

Those in this group more cautious will need a little more from you.  Some will need individual coaching, others written action plans.  Still others may need additional training.  Managing your resources will be critical, because you won’t have enough time (mostly your own) to bring EVERYONE along.  So, you’ll need to set parameters, maybe even timelines and clearly communicate them.  Express confidence, offer support, but in the end each individual is responsible for their own work.  Your team needs to know that.

THREAT GROUP – You can’t save everyone, but have to try.  With this group, discuss the parameters, timelines and expectations up front.  This group is already feeling threatened by one surprise, so they don’t need any more.  If there are other opportunities within the company where they might succeed, work with HR to see how you might offer them as appropriate.  With some, you may have to have that brutally honest conversation, if they cannot see for themselves that they need to move on.  Jack Welch’s 10% strategy helped transform GE.  Increased resistance, internally or externally, will make it more difficult for you to deliver what your company expects from your team.

BOTTOM LINE: You have finite resources, so invest wisely.  Project confidence to inspire confidence in your team, over-communicate through the change, be clear about your expectations and hold everyone (including you) accountable.  Recognize that you don’t have all the answers, so be honest with your team when you don’t.  All this will make them more willing to follow your lead.

Good leadership always matters, but it matters even more during times of change or challenge.


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