One of my kids has a T-shirt that says, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” I’ve always liked that shirt, not just because it’s a cool shirt, but also because it expresses a truth that’s a little bit profound when you think about it.
Change almost always makes people uncomfortable — even if it’s a good change. Getting out of bed in the morning is a good change, but I almost always find it unpleasant. Going to the doctor often doesn’t feel all that good, whether we get a shot or surgery or just foul-tasting medicine, but it can be the very best thing for our health. Meeting new people, taking a new job, travelling to a country where you don’t speak the language — all these things can feel a little awkward, but in the end they are often some of the best parts of our lives.
When you look at nature, things are always changing. Plants are growing. Animals are fighting, mating, giving birth, and dying. The weather alters the way the sky looks from one minute to the next. Rivers are imperceptibly eroding the rocks through which they run so that something that seems as permanent as the Grand Canyon is slowly but steadily evolving.
If something never changes at all, it’s dead.
That’s as true in business as it is in nature. That means our organizations need to change — and change for the better — if we want to continue to thrive.
We in sales ops are often in the position of asking people to change.
And that’s going to be a little uncomfortable.
You might be asking your co-workers to adopt a new CRM system. Or follow a new process. Or track data that they haven’t had to collect before. Or you might be asking leadership to acknowledge and respond to a problem that your analysis has uncovered.
All of these changes are going to be a little uncomfortable for people.
But that isn’t a bad thing.
In fact, I would argue that if you aren’t sometimes making people uncomfortable, you probably aren’t doing your job the right way.
The best sales ops teams embrace discomfort to push the broader sales organization further. And they recognize that explaining a new direction isn’t enough — they also need to acknowledge the fact hat a change is going to make people uncomfortable. In the long run, it’s better to recognize that fact than ignore it.
In fact, how you frame and discuss change can have a tremendous effect on how well your organization adapts and grows. We have a couple of resources that explain this concept in greater detail.
Making Change Happen offers a strategic framework that has been proven to facilitate change. The Right Way to Manage and Enable Change offers advice and tips from change management veterans. And Answering Three Questions to Enable Change lays out an approach that can be very effective.
So the next time someone in your organization tells you they are uncomfortable with a change your are championing, don’t view that conversation as something negative. Instead, consider it to be a sign of growth — and life — within your company.
Making Change Happen
How do you get an organization to move away from the status quo and actually embrace doing things differently? How do you foster true adoption, as opposed to merely forced compliance? Given the organizational dynamics involved, effective change management requires a more strategic approach.
The Right Way to Manage and Enable Change
How do you encourage, enable, and manage organizational change when the deck is stacked against you? In this in-depth interview, Scott McAllister and Suraj Mohandas share the quantifiable benefits of effective change management and expose the essential steps that are required to get it right.