Why Small Changes Make Stronger Sales Teams
Is it better to enact change with a big bang, or by taking incremental steps?
Some successful sales executives believe the path to betterment is a slow burn. Prior to his current leadership role as VP of business wireless at Bell Mobility (Canada), Michael Weening managed the Communications Sector team for Microsoft in the UK, where he lead the transformation that reversed the organization's revenue decline, drove double-digit growth, and radically improved customer satisfaction. Based on such experiences, Weening has said that successful change comes as a result of a balance that fixes the immediate issues while driving toward long-term goals. During his presentation ("The Essentials of Sales Transformation") at the March 2011 Sales 2.0 Conference, Weening stated clearly that successful change in a sales organization only happens without a big disruption.
The traditional element in Japanese management, kaizen, poses an interesting approach to leading change in a sales organization. Simply put, kaizen requires that each person do whatever is possible to gradually improve the situation, whether in his or her personal life or at work. The principles of kaizen have been successfully used in a variety of industries (including healthcare, government, and finance). Kaizen accepts that improvement is more often achieved in small steps - by evolution rather than revolution. It also accepts the notion that problems exist and always will.
This approach goes beyond traditional attempts to improve productivity and process. In its ideal form, kaizen is designed to make fundamental and positive changes to human behavior and thus have a beneficial influence on company culture. As a strategy for improvement, kaizen is all-inclusive. Everyone, from the executive office to the mailroom and even channel partners and customers, can participate in kaizen, and the principles can be executed on the individual, small-group, or large-scale level.
As Yogi Berra once said, "You can observe a lot just by watching." Whatever the goal, kaizen directs you to observe carefully both the situation and your role in it and discover opportunities for improvement. By staying constructive and not looking for perfection but constantly seeking improvement, sales leaders can help their teams make small, continuous changes that add up to major success.
– Selling Power Editors
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