What Kind Of Change Manager Are You?

There are two kinds of manager trying to make sense of change. The first is whom we might call The Yes But Manager, the second the Yes And Manager.

The Yes But Manager sees their primary function as twofold. To minimise risks to the business and to maintain current operational performance. Both laudable objectives but to the exclusion of anything else can create real danger. Not the sort of danger that makes you go bust next month, but the sort that in two years time realise your competitive advantage has been completely eroded and your customers are migrating way from you faster than you count. They sound so reasonable. “Look, I think this change stuff is important but we’re too busy to do x and this quarter’s numbers look a bit iffy so we can’t give the change the focus it needs, but we’re with you in spirit”. Their well intended but dispiriting contribution will slowly strangle the business of all pro-active endeavour and creative enthusiasm.
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The Yes And Manager sees change as something that must be achieved as well as the day job of running the business. They recognise this is not a mutually exclusive proposition or a reductive, binary decision of either/or to be taken. With their positive mind-set, linked to a problem solving approach, inspired by the imagination to paint a picture of a different future, these managers motivate their teams to transcend rather than accept the current reality.

In our change work we find both of these managers to be highly contagious. Yes But creating an anxious group of people who run in increasingly small circles trying to keep the business going . Yes And has mobilised their people around an idea of what is possible, ignoring problem symptoms going to the real cause of sub-optimal performance.

Obviously the more senior the manager, the bigger the impact. You might like to think about your managers, you might like to think about yourself? Yes But or Yes And?

Like A Rock

The last couple of weeks have seen unprecedented behaviour in the UK banking sector. Banks seem nervous of lending to each other, and commentators struggle to explain LIBOR, SIVs and US sub prime activity. Rumours abound and banking share prices have fluctuated wildly on an hour by hour basis.
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Northern Rock may feel unlucky that they have taken such an early hit, and could argue that their business model was and is sound. Nervous customers didn’t see it that way and queued for hours to ensure they could withdraw their savings. TV and radio vox pops most often heard people say, “I know I’m probably over-reacting and you could call it panic, but I want to be certain that I’ll be OK”.

It’s a sentiment you often hear around water coolers in businesses going through major change programmes. Those at the helm of the change programme may have a clear vision for what needs to happen and a coherent plan to implement the change, whilst people not involved on a daily basis worry that the change programme will have major and negative consequences for them.

In these situations employee behaviour doesn’t always follow rational patterns, worriers will worry, reducing their productivity, others may feed the rumour mill, exaggerating negative consequences with each re-telling whilst disregarding positive news as ‘spin’. Political players may spend more time jostling for position than adding value.

The most elegantly designed change programme can fail if people throughout the organisation want it to, or don’t trust it. Delivering successful change programmes means bringing the right people along on the journey, building confidence and a positive vision of the future sate throughout the organisation. That means thinking about the consequences beyond the senior management and project teams, keeping rumours at bay with hard facts, and keeping two way communication channels open through actively engaged teams.

Time Management

As a salesperson, how many hours do you believe are available on average to you each year for selling?

No. of days in a year =
365 days
Less weekends =
days
Less annual leave =
days
Less national holidays =
days
Less illness =
days
Less training =
days
Less exhibitions =
days
Less sales meetings =
days
Less company conference =
days
Total available =
Days
x10
=
hours/year(a)

Average hours per working day spent in non sales activity:

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Travelling =
hours
x
days
=
for Travelling
Waiting =
hours
x
days
=
for Waiting
Admin =
hours
x
days
=
for Admin
Phone calls =
hours
x
days
=
for Phone calls
Other =
hours
x
days
=
for Other
Total Hours spent per year on non sales activity
=
hours/year(b)

Total Hours left per year for actual selling: (a) – (b) = _____hours/year

So, how do we maximise our use of time?

Selling…The Essentials for Success is designed to give you a structured approach to selling. Using S3™ Structured Solution Selling this process will equip you with the skills and competencies to become a successful salesperson in today’s competitive market.

Rapport Techniques For The Telephone

Rapport works on the natural and automatic principle that people feel comfortable with others that they judge are like themselves. This usually happens at an unconscious level. When we are with people with whom we feel comfortable, and are perhaps sharing something important, we often find ourselves naturally and automatically imitating some aspects of the way that they behave or speak.

Over the telephone the senses become so concentrated around the voice and the chosen words that rapid, unconscious judgements are made about the other person based on how they speak. In order to make this principle work for us; we need to make the rapport effect repeatable and controllable by using it consciously.

Effective sales professionals will often deliberately match the way that their customers speak in some way, increasing the feeling of comfort, or trust. It is not appropriate to “mimic” the other person’s voice, but choose some aspect of the way that they speak, and move closer to it. Aspects to consider are:

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  • Rate of speech – speed up or slow down a little.
  • Volume of speech – a little louder with people who shout, quieter with the whisperers.
  • Speech rhythm – watch for flowing speech, or a style with irregular gaps between words.
  • Sentence length – some people do not pause for breath, have never heard of a full stop. Others use short, pointed sentences, sometimes with long pauses between.
  • Tonality – using the full natural range of tone.
  • Articulation – some people use their entire natural tonality range to produce interesting speech, others are more “wooden” on the phone, sounding rather robotic.
  • Vocabulary – some people choose long words, and lots of them, others are more to the point. Some use technical jargon – where you can, follow them.

The matching does not have to be exact; any shift, which brings you closer to them, will help to subliminally convey “I am like you”. Customers will feel more comfortable with you surprisingly quickly, perceiving you as “normal” – which to them means like themselves.

Our Selling…Increasing Sales by Telephone open course gives a salesperson a clear view of the responsibilities and requirements of a professional telephone based sales role. For more information please contact us.