Without Motivation We Look for Reasons Not to Change

Recently, a client contacted me and asked for help in moving a sales opportunity along. After careful consideration of the facts, we realized that his current circumstances left him no opportunity to get this deal. In the same week, I was reviewing a situation where we were making tremendous progress in a company in getting all the employees to move in one direction to make the changes necessary to help that company avoid failure. Just 6 months earlier, the CEO had tried to mobilize these employees and was getting nowhere. I realized that while the circumstances in these two situations were different, success or failure was dependent on the same factors.

In the book “Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, the authors make the case that for any change to happen you must harness people’s emotions to give them the will to change and then direct them on how to accomplish that change. If you are not able to accomplish both motivation and direction with everyone involved, you fail. In my two examples, one client was attempting to change something outside of his company, while the other was seeking change from within. The bottom line is that all change requires appropriate motivation and leadership.

I have found that to get others to change, we must first get them focused on the right questions and motivate their passion before we can start directing their logic and actions. So let’s look at a real-life opportunity to demonstrate the point. I am working with a branch director in a very large financial institution who wants to purchase my services. He does not have purchase authority. He asked me for a lot of data which he wants to send to his internal people to help them see why our products and services are so good. Based on what he has told me about their internal processes, the cost of piloting our services is far less than the cost of continuing their existing processes and procedures, so I know what questions he needs to ask if he wants to get them on his side.

Are they:

  • Tired of too many people not meeting quotas?
  • Frustrated by not enough people being top performers?
  • Concerned by the fact they really do not understand how to consistently select top performers?
  • Do they believe their current approach and initiatives will fully address these issues?
  • If they agree that these are legitimate issues, do they have the courage and desire to try new ways to address this problem or do they want to keep doing the same things and hope for a different outcome?

In my experience, if someone looks long enough and with the proper bias, they will find the reason to support changing or not changing.  It all starts with where their motivation is. You must inspire their motivation. Whenever an organization or salesperson sends information too early in the process the recipients look for information to support their own pre-existing bias. Worse, they fail to have the motivation to read the information. People without motivation usually look for reasons not to change.

Howard Shore is a business growth expert that works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please contact Howard Shore at 305.722.7213 or shoreh@activategroupinc.com.