*The wonky capitalization is deliberate…please keep reading to see why.

“The only constant is change.” How many times have we all heard that?
“Change agents needed.” Does that phrase make your skin crawl?

Ultimately, change is both an essential and abhorrent part of our working lives. We struggle with the disequilibrium … but to move forward we have to change. And if we’re not moving forward – if we are trying really hard to stay still – the world will leave us behind as they move past us. These are all such widely accepted facts that they’re cliche, and probably caused multiple readers to roll their eyes.

So, let’s come to Change is a MuST. Change requires Mindset, Skillset and Toolset. Steven Covey – personal management and productivity guru – is credited with this model, and I once heard it as part of a LEAN presentation by The Center for Healthcare Value (now Catalysis). Having seen it in these two different realms, I realized it could also be applied to commercializing products. Both within organizations and with customers.

If you’re an innovator or a sales person, how often have you struggled with getting something new into an organization? Did you go through layers and layers of meetings and throw resource after resource at deals that never went anywhere? Upon reflection, did that organization have the right mindset?

In one role, I watched several deals go through extensive sales efforts for minimal traction, so we instituted a “mindset checklist.” Together with our primary sales leader for the product, we would first engage the customer with specific organizational readiness questions before positioning a particular transformation solution. This checklist allowed us to determine EARLY in an opportunity if the specific solution was likely to gain traction or not. This approach allowed our small team to focus on deals for a new service that were likely to succeed, rather than spinning our wheels trying to get business that was unlikely to go our way or deliver us a proof point to share with others.

Even before you get to market: if you lead an organization with an innovative product, have you struggled with getting your team on board with the new product and workflow? If yes, is their mindset in the right place? If not, could that be causing your problem? For example, if your team has always sold capital equipment and been compensated on that, but you’re asking them to sell subscriptions…are you addressing the mindset that comes with being a “big game” hunting salesperson? Does your organization deliver the confidence that you’ll help them nurture subscription renewals and refreshes, while continuously communicating customer value of your products?

I have spent most of my career in commercial roles – sales operations, marketing, and product development- working with customers to bring (often disruptive) products to market to address customer needs while making business sense for the creator. Resistance to change has been the single biggest hurdle in my roles. There are ingredients you can bring, and then there are conditions that must exist for you to be able to catalyze any change. Any individual change agent can bring tools and some skills to the party. But without mindset and some skills by the subject of change, efforts to drive change will be less than rewarding.

Are you experiencing this type of challenge? Have you looked at resistance to change through the lens of Mindset, Skillset and Toolset? Do you need help breaking it down? Maybe I can help…I’m here to listen. Let’s talk.