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Moving Into Our “Discomfort Zones”

by David Brock on May 22nd, 2015

As sales people, we get frustrated with customers that are slow, reluctant, resistant to change.  We want them to embrace change, moving forward; because moving forward presents us an opportunity to sell.

But turn the mirror on ourselves, and we are as reluctant as everyone else to change.

We cling to what we have always done, we resist, we stay rigidly entrenched in our comfort zones.

Even when nothing is working!

We may do what we have always done with greater intensity.  We may wrap a veneer of the latest technology around it, not enabling us to improve, but rather enabling us to fail much faster and too look cooler in the process.

We continue to do these things when the numbers come in, week after week, month after month.

If it’s us, as individuals, management fires us.

If it’s the organization, the organization becomes irrelevant, disappointing long time customers, shareholders, our communities, families, and employees.

Customers don’t stop buying, they just buy from someone else.  A more nimble or responsive competitor.  Someone new, completely disrupting the industry.

We know the organizational response to this, most often it starts with endless cycles of “right-sizing.”

We see the same patterns, both with individuals and organizations.

Individuals who don’t change their approach to selling wander from job to job, never quite meeting performance expectations of others.

Organizations that don’t change, join the ranks of most of the US steel industry, much of the automotive industry, dozens of high tech corporate carcasses, and countless other examples.  Or they are absorbed into other organizations who force the change.

I think this is a line from an old science fiction movie, but “Resistance Is Futile!”

If things aren’t working, we have to change!  The personal and organizational consequences are too grave!

I’m empathetic, but not sympathetic to the frustration.

In a recent conversation with a very good sales executive about a massive change in the organization, she made the comment, “They are certainly feeling the pressure.”  With another organization going through massive change–to survive, people started saying, “This is a hostile work place, we want to go back to the old ways.”

It is difficult, it is challenging, but the alternatives are even more hostile!

Thank goodness, the world doesn’t stand still.  The pace of change seems to be accelerating.

We cannot sit back and do nothing, we get left behind and fail.

We have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.  We have to continue to adapt, to learn, to re-invent ourselves as individuals and organizations, to change, to lead change and disruption.

Change for the very best is no easier, but they know it is a requirement for growth.  The very best, create greater discomfort with everyone else, all the competitors, and the industry.

We expect our customers to change, we can expect no less of ourselves.

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