When I’m leading in an organization, I’ve been very intentional that I never wanted to “sell” a change. It is not that I don’t understand the dynamics of how people respond to change but instead, I would do some combination of the following:
- Educate (why the change, share the urgency, highlight the problems, etc)
- Enable: Remove Roadblocks (what prevents the change from being attempted) and Support Experimentation (building coalitions, considering reflection milestones)
- Encourage (motivate and inspire the desire to experiment and reflect, celebrate the wins, etc)
Even while writing this down, I found myself replacing change with experiment. I think that’s the crux…I moved away from “change” and towards leading people to “just experiment a little”, which in my experience requires a lot less “selling” to people. In fact, the more I tried to “sell” someone, the more I kept the ownership of the experiment. This definitely did not contribute to creating high performing teams and almost rarely produced the results that I was hoping for. Somewhere along the way I developed the attitude: if I need to “sell” this, then is it really the right thing to do?
Now this worked as a practicing leader but now as someone that needs to sell her time/courses/etc, this aversion is having a negative impact. I’m re-evaulating my attitude toward selling as I’m finding it difficult to overcome the icky factor I experience when I’m having any type of selling conversation. For example, my motivation to speak at conferences was to simply pay it forward. For a while now, I’m noticing myself be extremely uncomfortable when someone approaches me after a conference. I feel comfortable that I could help them. I feel comfortable with the value I can provide. Yet I feel uncomfortable with whether they thought I spoke simply to get to this conversation. Many people tell me I’m over thinking this but all of this does have me wondering how to improve my current leadership stance on the concept of selling towards being healthy. Why have I made “selling” such a negative thing for myself as a leader? There is always something to work on!!!!
How do you feel about selling?