Sales managers in the middle of organizational or industry transitions are responsible for effectively guiding their teams during times of change. Since these types of changes are occurring more frequently in the current business environment, the pressure on sales managers has increased.
This Lesson in Leadership examines obstacles to change and the corresponding fears that people on your sales team may feel. A list of questions to help people work past their fear of change is provided.
Today, more than ever, we all need to feel a stronger sense of control. People ask so much of us on the job that it can become challenging to do everything they ask while maintaining our own personal focus on growth, improvement, opportunity, and satisfaction. Part of the reason for this personal “black hole” is the requirement to participate in the changes others create. As employees, we can spend so much time serving the objectives of others that it is challenging to initiate positive change in our own lives. If we’re not careful, we may find ourselves so busy implementing the changes others create that we may feel we don’t have the time or energy to create positive change for ourselves. This can contribute to a feeling of victimization.
In a world full of individuals … it’s easy to feel alone.
We shouldn’t blame others for focusing on their needs or goals. And we certainly shouldn’t feel victimized when other people rely on our skills and abilities to achieve their desires. Still, the challenge is to maintain a personal sense of control and recognize we, too, need personal satisfaction, which only comes with chosen and earned personal achievement.
When changing at the speed of light … we’re quite often in the dark.
There has been a lot of information passed along over the last few years about the importance of, the reasons for, and even the steps to effective personal change. As managers, we are glad so many have taken an interest in this topic, because as leaders and employees, we deal with the issues of change almost every day. Nearly everyone will agree that when change is created for the purpose of improvement, it is a good thing. Still, we have learned that not everyone changes well every time and there are some very natural deterrents or stumbling blocks to personal change.
- The purpose or reasons for the change are not made clear
- You are not involved in the decision to change
- You feel group work habits and routines have been ignored
- You do not have enough information about the expected implementation
- You have a fear of failure
- You feel there is excessive work pressure
- You view the cost as too high or the reward as too low
- The present situation seems satisfactory to you
- You are not asked to participate in refining the implementation
- The change direction and expected final outcome are unclear
As managers we are constantly working to improve our organizational and individual transition skills so we can help you through some of the more difficult changes at work. We are not suggesting we’re great at it, or that we always offer change in the way everyone around us feels is the right way, but we’re trying to help … not hurt. And, we’d like to help you.
Change is speeding up.
We don’t believe the changes you face in the workplace are ever going to slow down. In fact, based on current trends in business, the need to change is going to become even more frequent in the future.
Learning to change quickly and effectively are skills that can be developed just like any other skill. When perfecting any new skill, there can be setbacks and challenges. Most commonly when learning to do anything new or better, people can be their own worst enemy. People often stand on their own “air hose” of improvement when overwhelmed with concern. Most generally referred to simply as “fear,” there are actually 5 different fears that can slow down or stop a person’s progress when attempting to create or implement change.
According to psychologist Dr. Dennis O’Grady, the inability to change is commonly associated with a possible combination of these five fears:
- Fear of the Unknown – Concern that when change occurs, you will lose control.
- Fear of Failure – Concern that if you commit yourself to goals for change, there is a chance for failure.
- Fear of Commitment – Concern over eliminating other options, which may present themselves later.
- Fear of Disapproval – Concern for what others might feel or say when you change or when they must change because of you.
- Fear of Success – Concern about the additional demands on you as a result of your successful change, and questioning whether the new-found success is sustainable.
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Any fear can be a painful endeavor. When these 5 fears start to cause friction in your personal gears of change the sparks can fly and the transition can slow down or grind to a halt. We’d like to help you to overcome these fears. We’d like to aid you in your goals of higher levels of achievement, opportunity, and growth. In order to do this, please allow us to offer you some relevant questions that might help you, as they have helped us, to jumpstart your journey on the road to personal change and improvement.
Proactive Change Questions:
- What trends and forces of change are currently affecting my profession?
- How can my job or responsibilities be impacted by these changes?
- What skills and abilities do I possess or need to make these changes?
- Which of these skills or abilities will help me continue to be successful in the future?
- What skills do I need to stay valuable in my role?
- What have I learned in the last six months that might help me with the change?
- What do I expect to learn in the next six months?
- Who might I partner with to help me change and improve?
By occasionally reviewing these questions you can proactively put yourself in a better position to implement changes thrust upon you, and you can illuminate change opportunity you may desire to create for yourself.
The most wonderful future is the one we create.
Anyone can become frustrated with change. But the people who succeed most often and are receiving the highest levels of reward and satisfaction are those who not only implement the changes others bring them but also create improvement for themselves.
Creating positive change in yourself and for yourself is the way you can take personal control and responsibility for your own happiness. It helps you to keep life interesting and challenging. It allows you to keep yourself sharp, balanced, and alert. Most importantly, it reminds you that you are in charge of your own fate, your own future.
I am the creator and master of my destiny.
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From Ward and Cooke, We’re on Your Side! Copyright © 2006 by iUniverse.
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