Everyone is familiar with the phrase, “change is constant.” Today, however, this axiom is outdated. It has been replaced by the “speed of change,” because change is instantaneous and unavoidable. Inhale and somewhere, something changes. Exhale and something else changes.
For sales professionals, this means that learning to work at the speed of change is critical. In fact, it’s the only way to remain relevant and avoid getting passed by.
Change is an integral force that drives us to try new things, to learn, to improve the basics and to discover new ideas. From crawling to walking and driving, and from cooing to talking and texting, we are surrounded by changes we can’t control. Who would have ever thought that a computer + the internet = the potential demise of movie theaters, record stores, drug stores, shopping malls, groceries stores and restaurants?
So how do you create a fearless environment that encourages and embraces change? These principles will help you get started.
- Everything that you know today is going to change. Accept this and prepare for it.
- There are no silver bullets to success; there never were. Even if your business processes today are flawless, look at them with a critical eye. Constantly assess your vulnerabilities. Always look for the next opportunity to differentiate and outpace your competition.
- Never stop learning. Education and training must be as instant and unavoidable as change. Create “learning workers,” people whose most important skill is the ability to quickly and consistently absorb new information and discover new ways to use it effectively. Build a learning environment where education and training are valued as core assets and afforded to every employee regardless of their role in the business.
- Embrace obstacles and mistakes as opportunities. Find a new way, a better way, to accomplish the task and then, change. Take your new knowledge and apply it to different situations. Be flexible.
- Always ask “WHY” and “WHY NOT?” Challenge the status quo. Comments like “that’s always how it’s done” or “that would never work” or “we tried it before and it didn’t work,” are red flags. They are signs that you should stop and ask “why not?” Replace these thought patterns with, “Why wouldn’t this new idea work?” or “Are you positive it wouldn’t?” or “How do we know unless we try?”
- Work at the speed of change. Anticipate change and stay ahead of it. Be the first to try a new idea. This is one of the most effective things leaders do.
Working at the speed of change is not an option. Unless you and your business can adapt, you may be left behind. After all, most businesses don’t suffer from a lack of new ideas that drive change, they suffer from underutilizing those ideas or failing to work at the speed of change.