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“This is Just How Things Work Around Here”

Most of us have had the experience of starting a new job full of enthusiasm and optimism. You come out of the interview process ready to tackle the toughest challenges at your new company. In your first days and weeks, you start sharing all your incredible ideas for how to improve the business.

Then someone says, “That’s not how we do things here.”

And it’s like you’ve hit a brick wall.

Most companies have a standard “way of doing things” that gets passed on from veterans to newbies. Over time, these practices become so ingrained in the company culture that they seem nearly impossible to change.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t change when necessary.

The pandemic is a good case in point. A lot of companies have made dramatic changes to the way they do business. They’re selling from home. Using more video conferencing. Focusing on retaining their current customers rather than going after new business.

People were willing to make these changes because they saw an undeniable need. With airports closed and lockdown orders in place, sales teams that had always traveled to meet with customers in person understood that they had to find a new way of doing things.

As someone who works in sales ops, you’re probably pretty good at recognizing problems. Because of your proximity to data and your analytical mindset, you can probably spot an opportunity for beneficial change long before your co-workers in other departments.

That’s good. But it can also lead to problems.

If you try to convince others to implement a solution to a problem that no one else can see, you’ll probably hit that brick wall. “That’s not how we do things here,” they’ll say.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you can adequately demonstrate the need for change in a way that others can easily see and accept, change becomes a lot easier. As the coronavirus experience has taught us, businesses can change — dramatically —given the proper motivation.

As we move into new phases of the pandemic and beyond in the coming years, this is a great lesson to keep in mind. You can convince even the most stubborn people to change if they recognize the need.

In fact, right now might be one of the best times to start pushing for some of the changes that you’ve had in mind for a while.

There’s likely never been a better time to drive healthy change within a company because the appetite for change has never been so broad—so take advantage of it. Having just made some pretty dramatic changes, people will be more willing to make additional changes to their usual way of doing things. The fallout from the pandemic may also have highlighted some inefficiencies that you hadn’t noticed before, providing new opportunities for improvement. Just remember to sell people on the problem first — before you bring up the solution.

For tips on how to do that, check out
Answering Three Questions to Enable Change
and Making Change Happen. Both of these resources can help you do a better job of managing and driving change in your organization — during the pandemic and long after.

We hope that you and your families are well. Stay safe!

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