Be open to constructive change

We’ve all been thrust into the fire of change the past few years with a worldwide pandemic. That change wasn’t welcome, but we’ve learned to adapt as best we can and forge a way forward.

This past year (2021 to now) I’ve faced down a lot of change – and each time it was met with a wide spectrum of emotions – from that twisted knots – I don’t want to leave my house feeling to elation and excitement for new possibilities and growth.

Change is inevitable – but it doesn’t have to be feared as long as we focus on the right way to embrace change. In reflecting on the major life decisions I made in 2021 (purchasing a home, changing jobs, starting my coaching and art businesses) – I realize it is important to examine drivers for change – personally and professionally.

  • What is driving this change?
    • I am ready to growth professionally/personally
    • This change is unexpected or forced on external circumstances. I don’t want to change, but I am having to maneuver (being transferred to a new role you didn’t request or having to make dietary changes because you find out you have an allergy, dealing with a pandemic)
    • External and internal drivers: Example – you don’t want to leave the job you love, but they are not paying your commission fairly and as much loyalty you have for the company you need to leave. In negotiating this change – you also realize that you have an internal desire to learn something new and grow in a different career. So the external driver for change draws out an unknown pain point for change you didn’t fully recognize.

Change happens but you are not powerless when it comes to tackling change.

  • When change happens, breath in deep and reflect
    • make a list of how this change makes you feel and then troubleshoot the pros and cons of the change
    • This is a way to ‘vent’ your frustrations while also thinking about the potential ‘future state’ and ‘positive outcomes’
    • I always turn it over to God and prayer helps me calm my soul and mind. I look back over my life timeline and how God has used change to help me grow spiritually and professionally – or because He see the future I cannot (ex. the company you loved working for is going to have layoffs – so getting into a new job ends up being a blessing in disguise)
  • Recognize the challenges and opportunities
  • Embrace change but don’t pre-emptively force
    • What do I mean by this? Many workers have reconsidered their core focus after COVID-19. Before the motto in sales was ‘hustle till you die’ and this almost revered martyr state of if you work late and take time away from yourself to win the deal you are a hero.
      • While every job demands sacrifices – this mentality left many sales professionals so burnt out and the pandemic shifted what true focus should be – giving your all to your job, but not dying for it. Family, faith, life goals matter too and work life balance is now a huge focus for companies to retain top talent.
    • Change doesn’t need to happen just because you are frustrated in the moment. It is easy to say ‘I can’t stand my position because of xyz’ but you need to also put the pain in perspective. Managers change – so while a bad manager (abusive) would be a reason to leave – is there another option within this scenario
      • Listen to understand the pain points behind the change and the impact of the change. Lean into trusted mentors/friends who are not emotionally attached to the change and the issue at hand.
        • Ex: You’ve been in a job seven months and you thought it would be fantastic but it is a slow ramp and you are frustrated by the results.
          • It is easy to say – I need to quit and find something else, and that may be true, but you need to consider the long game from a non emotional point of view. Things change and emotions are fleeting – so look at the long term opportunities and work to problem solve how you can succeed before rushing to another opportunity that may have similar or worse problems than your current role.
      • Don’t be afraid to listen to advice for change, be open to their perspective but also trust your instincts and intuition. It is important to know and understand your value (including your weaknesses) so you can analyze the advice and see if it is really aligned with your professional and personal goals:
        • Example: you should change careers because of xyz
          • You should completely change your sales style because you are ‘dated’
            • In this example you are a top performer and have great rapport with clients. Small changes can be helpful, but stay true to your authentic self
  • Listen to good advice
    • Senior sales professionals can be stubborn because we’ve been successful and understand how to sell. We have a system and changing anything in this well oiled sales machine we’ve created seems like a threat. It is called the status quo. Ironic how we constantly tell our clients that status quo needs to be broken, but we can be chained to it.
      • Having a system/methodology that works is great, but when a fellow sales professional or manager challenges you to change things up or try a new tactic – don’t be afraid to listen. Sales professionals all have our own unique styles and can learn from one another. The best sales professionals are copycats and sponges – willing to listen and understand and try out new sales techniques. This doesn’t mean you compromise your entire style (as I mentioned earlier) but if your colleague is having success with prospecting – listen and learn. They can learn from your success as well.

Opportunity for change in Business:

  • We’ve focused on our personal and professional development – but all of these points are transferable to your clients as well. Put yourselves in their shoes and think about how changes affects them. Think about the unrealized pain they have and how to draw it out.
  • Be respectful of their fear of change while holding them accountable to the opportunity for change
  • Speak to your personal encounters with change: ‘I understand I was hesitant to invest in a new website for my side business because of the start-up costs and uncertainty around the ROI, but I started reflecting on the pains I have currently and cart abandonment because of poor sales system and realized the impact of the change far outweighed my concerns’

Don’t be Risk-Averse – but be Risk-Aware

Risk is not a bad thing – we take risks every day – even driving to the grocery store, but the key is to be aware of the implications of that risk and reflect and analyze the impact in a rational way.

Risk of leaving a job: The job you’ve been in five years has had a lot of structural changes and you are not getting paid as much even though your are doing more work – because the quotas are unattainable. You are afraid of leaving because of the fear of the unknown. You might be ‘losing’ money at this job but it is a known entity and what if you change positions and it doesn’t work out. You have a mortgage, kids, bills to pay…

Those are legitimate risks and being aware of the risks you can analyze the impact of the change, but at the same time, you cannot be averse to changing simply because of the fear of the unknown.

I’ve seen many talented sales professionals turn down great offers at established companies – not because of loyalty to their current job (that has a lot of internal bottlenecks and frustrations) – they aren’t happy working at their company, but they are afraid of change – they are risk averse.

Taking risks is a good thing as long as you have an awareness and action plan behind the change. We are emotional creatures – so it is okay to loop in trusted friends outside of these situations to help.

Take on change with awareness and strength

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