I’ve been through many corporate change initiatives in my life, and none were without pain. As someone who’s always searching for ‘new, better and different,’ I’ve always pushed the envelope and felt it my responsibility as a leader to challenge the status quo. One such scenario stands out because it taught me that all change is behavioral change.
At the beginning of 1997, I decided to experiment with a different way to measure our sales team. Despite the fact that commissions earned were the ultimate measure of sales success; the industry used a tracking system that measured 10 different variables that were perceived to be correlated with making a sale. Among the key indicators were the number of calls made, appointments scheduled, interviews conducted, and referrals received.
To me, those numbers were always secondary to the relationships we built and the value that we were contributing, so we decided to change. We analyzed our team’s skill set, and determined that we did our best work during our initial conversation with a new relationship. Further, we learned that our most productive weeks weren’t the ones when we made the most sales; instead, they were the ones where we pinpointed promising future opportunities.
So, we shifted our attention to a singular activity – having four opening conversations per week. For the next decade, not only were our sales results predictable, more importantly, we attracted some of the brightest minds in the industry. In their book, Leading Successful Change, Gregory Shea and Cassie Solomon outline 8 keys to making change work – and not surprisingly, it starts with understanding the behaviors that you want to influence. Here’s why!