Often our focus is on getting the end-result we think we want. We forget that without buy-in from the necessary people and policies that maintain the status quo, we face the high cost of the resistance emanating from pushing change into a system that believes that it’s fine, thanks.
I’d like to share a story about how I helped my own tech guys shift their project work and our revenue as a result of having decision facilitation skills. At the end of the day, unless there is a decision – one person at a time – to adopt to, know how to, and be willing to change, there will be resistance and possibly failure.
FIRST SIGNS OF TROUBLE
I owned a body shop/recruitment company to support new technology. We had 43 tech folks going out to client sites as programmers, systems analysts/designers, project managers/leaders.
Within the first months, I began hearing murmurs of annoyance from the folks: “Stupid users.” “We have to spend twice as long redoing what they told us to do!” “Why don’t they get it right when we first talk to them?”
As a test to see what was going on that was creating so much failure and cost (time/money), I called in my head tech guy to design a requirement I’d been complaining about.
Julian’s first question was: “What do you want?” I didn’t know how to respond because 1. I wasn’t a techie and didn’t know how to explain to him in his language; 2. I didn’t have the right description, as it was mostly a picture in my mind. So I responded “I don’t know.” Julian smirked. “This is what I hear from clients. But I know what you want. I’ll take care of it and show you some screens next week.” We were already in the middle of the problem.
What he created was from his own vantage point, using his own beliefs and limiting assumptions. “This is all wrong,” I said.
Julian’s eyes glazed over. In the UK you don’t tell the MD that she’s a Stupid User. I continued: “Imagine where we’d be now if you had started our conversation with ‘ What would you have if you had all of your wishes and dreams, and a computer could do everything that your brain would like to do?’ With that, I could have I would have ‘designed’ screens and offered colors and made up functionality. That would have been a far better start.
NEW SKILLS FOR INTERNAL CONSULTANTS
I realized that all of our tech guys needed decision facilitation skills to enable them to
I taught the 43 tech guys my ‘Buying Facilitation® model (a decision facilitation model that is a change management model, independent of buying or selling). The results were instant, and dramatic.
In fact, my competition tried to steal my employees; no one budged, regardless of the money that was thrown at them. I made sure they had plenty of personal time off, I took them for darts/beer at the local pub once a month, and I made sure they were happy. Plus I kept them doing what they loved, rather than having to deal with any ‘issues.’
I hired a ‘Make Nice Guy’ (who I also trained) to go make sure everything chugged happily along: if any sort of problem – client concern, project glitch, personality issue, tech malfunction – occured, it was his regardless of time of day. Or he could take the day off.
As a result, I had nothing to do but grow my company. And I was able to exit after under 4 years, with 3 branches in two countries (offices in London, Stuttgart, Hamburg), $5,000,000 revenue (remember this was a start up in 1983, in a huge depression) and a 43% net profit.
Your tech folks and internal consultants need decision facilitation skills in addition to technology skills. Because at the base of it all are humans who resist change, get confused, hang on to turf, and don’t always communicate properly. Let me know if I can help you design a program for your tech folks or internal consultants: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Start the journey to help sellers get the skills they need to manage both ends of the buying decision journey – the off-line political and relational buy-in as well as the solution choice. Read Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it.
Listen to insights and illustrative examples regarding: what change is and why its fundamentally the same regardless of industry or organization type, what systems are and their role in the change management process.
Sharon Drew Morgen is the NYTimes Business Bestselling author of Selling with Integrity and 7 books how buyers buy. She is the developer of Buying Facilitation® a decision facilitation model used with sales to help buyers facilitate pre-sales buying decision issues. She is a sales visionary who coined the terms Helping Buyers Buy, Buy Cycle, Buying Decision Patterns, Buy Path in 1985, and has been working with sales/marketing for 30 years to influence buying decisions.
More recently, Morgen is the author of What? Did you really say what I think I heard? in which she has coded how we can hear others without bias or misunderstanding, and why there is a gap between what’s said and what’s heard. She is a trainer, consultant, speaker, and inventor, interested in integrity in all business communication. Her learning tools can be purchased: www.didihearyou.com. She can be reached at sharondrew@sharondrewmorgen.
www.didihearyou.com ; www.sharondrewmorgen.com