With the evolving macro-economic situation, now is undoubtedly a time to look at organizational effectiveness when it comes to sales and selling. The critical nature of perspective in developing sales plans becomes more compelling when as so many companies innovate from within their own space versus considering other programs.
With any major change program, it is tempting to solely look at organizational structures and processes. However, in much the same way as playing Jenga, moving blocks around does not guarantee success. We have seen redefined organizations and rebuilt processes launch, only to be replaced twelve to eighteen months later as the original plan failed to deliver the results expected.
This failure is often put down to changing market conditions or changing customer needs. However, any well-defined strategy must incorporate allowances for such changing conditions. Therefore, it is unlikely that reorganizations and redesigned processes alone will solve the issues and deliver results. The issues and opportunities for high performance still sit at the core of any organization, it’s almost always the people.
Driving results through people
Driving results through people requires leadership to be purposeful, engaged and nurturing to their employees on an ongoing basis. A robust change management approach should ensure that the people and their behavior are at the core of the program. The impact of this focus is significant, with research showing that results are directly correlated to the effectiveness of the change program. Taking into consideration the needs of employees, beyond just their timekeeping and tools is important to deliver outstanding results. Providing ‘front line’ managers and their leaders with guidance and insight is critical to their development and the impact they have on their teams.
Fundamentally, it is not because you change a person’s title and/or metrics that their behavior or ways of working will change. At best, there may be a short-term impact, however people soon return to their comfort zone if they do not receive ongoing coaching and encouragement to make changes. With the focus and determination behind any change program, there is no doubt as to its initial success. However, human behavior tends to revert to its comfort zone once attention moves to ‘business as usual.’ This is illustrated by the PROSCI Best Practices in Change Management survey of 1,120 change leaders where 68% of survey participants who planned for reinforcement or sustainment of their change program met or exceeded their objectives in comparison to 42% who did not. PROSCI is part of the ADKAR model.
Invest in behavioral changes
One recommended solution is to invest in a behavioral change role that is independent of any team or ties other than the head of the function within the business. Key parameters for this role are:
- Scope – Lead the behavior change program before, during and after the change program activities
- Benefits – ROI and greater revenue impact through
- Speed of adoption
- Ultimate utilization – the number employees demonstrating buy-in
- Proficiency in the behaviors required to drive performance on a consistent basis
- Awareness – of the need for change
- Desire – of the team to engage and support the change
- Knowledge – on how and why to change
- Ability – to implement the required skills and behaviors
- Reinforcement – to sustain the changes
Bringing to life a dedicated change leadership movement with a focus on driving ongoing behavior change will see the organization grow employee engagement and enable greater project success as well as incremental performance enhancements. The ROI of such an undertaking is significant, given the delta between an organization that is engaged versus disengaged with change.
The views expressed in this article are expressly those of the author.
Paul Nevelos is a trilingual, internationally experienced leader with comprehensive experience in sales, marketing, operations and technology. Key capabilities include delivering revenue through an agile organizational structure while training, coaching and leading global sales teams.
Paul previously served as Vice President, Sales Operations at Atlas Oil Company; Director, Training Delivery & Implementation, Americas, at the InterContinental Hotels Group; (IHG) and Director of Client Services, Europe, Middle East, Africa (based in England) for Newmarket International.
By Paul D. Nevelos
Senior Director, National Sales