Lessons in Leadership: Understanding Change

Lessons in Leadership: Understanding Change

3 Ways to Respond When Facing Change

Sales managers in today’s business environment must cope with change from every direction. Upper management initiates change to expand business, customers instigate change as they try to improve their business, team turnover creates change, and outside regulations can force unwanted changes.

Sales managers have their own changes to deal with. At the same time, as they develop their sales team, they must help the team cope with change as well.

In this Lesson in Leadership, we look at three possible responses to change.

Everything appears to be changing so quickly these days. So much so, it can be difficult to know which changes are good for us, which changes are not and, more importantly, who or what is to blame.

The only constant in the universe is change.

While change happens faster today than in the past, that doesn’t mean everyone is getting better at transitioning through the changes.

Change can impact anyone at anytime. The impact on people can be both positive and negative. Managers and employees alike experience natural emotional attachments and influences when facing change.

As managers we know you may give us more credit for workplace changes than we are due. We’ve heard employees say things like, “They’re doing it to us again!” Or, “If it’s not broken … don’t fix it!” They say this as if we are entirely responsible for any change that affects them.

Yes, we are accountable for changes the organization or team faces, but we may not have instigated the compelling need or reason for the specific change.

Changes are like subway trains. If you don’t like this one, there will be another along in a few minutes.

We must be aware of certain areas where change might happen. Then our business can continue to thrive and we can continue to serve our customers. All business professionals must be prepared at any given time to be flexible when change happens in any of these areas.

5 Areas of Change

  1. Customers
  2. Competition
  3. Technology
  4. Company
  5. People

If change occurs in any of these areas, we must adapt in response so we can continue to be useful and valuable in relationship to them. You might be saying to yourself, “But why do we have to change?” The answer is simple.

3 Choices When Facing Change

When faced with change, Mother Nature only allows us three options: Adapt, Migrate, or Perish.

Try, fly, or die. These are the only choices we get when faced with inevitable change.

For example:

If our customer’s business changes we have to make a decision. Will we change? If we don’t, what might happen? If we adapt to the change and attempt to work with our customers through the transition, we may improve our relationship with them and be able to serve them even better as a result of our mutual change.

Or we can ignore the customers who are changing and migrate to a new marketplace. But if we do, might we find ourselves in the same or worse condition with our new clients?

As a third option, we can resist change and run the risk of losing our customers because they now need something different from us!

Any way you look at it, changing our own business seems to be the only logical, productive, and profitable answer when our customer’s business changes.

Here’s another example:

Because technology has changed, our company adapts and upgrades. We are all employees. All employees including managers only have three choices. We can adapt, migrate, or perish. If we adapt to the new technology and the possible procedural changes we can continue to be productive and useful at work.

If we migrate or move to another company we may be fine for a while, but technology changes usually impact every business in a particular industry. So, moving just postpones the inevitable.

Thirdly, we can resist the change, but we may be swept away by the overwhelming tide of changing technology and lose our job after all!

The only reasonable response to technological change is to adapt.

Earlier we noted that change is like subway trains. You can get off one and board another. But that is only one way to respond to change. And not always the most helpful way.

And as we’ve seen, change comes from all directions. Often all at once, too! Whether you are facing change in your business, your industry, or from other areas, how you think about the changes you face can help you decide how to respond.

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