After over 300 revenue growth projects across more than 16 years, here is what I know about creating permanent corporate change:

  1. It must come from the top. That is, the top executive should lead the way. Lasting change cannot be initiated from the middle of the organization, or even from the top quartile. It must be nurtured, enthusiastically supported, and motivated from the owner or chief executive.
  2. This doesn’t mean that permanent change needs to be implemented by the top executive. On the contrary, the more leaders are involved in making the change with their teams, the better and more sticky the change becomes. The more people responsible for success, the more cultural it comes, and the higher the probability of success.
  3. The human psychology deck is stacked against you. Humans don’t like change. It’s uncomfortable. It’s risky. Most people don’t like new things. Many people feel like a new corporate initiative is “more work” but not ”more pay.” This is one of the major factors that prevent corporate change from becoming permanent, and perhaps the most difficult one to overcome.
  4. Here is another major hurdle: Your staff doesn’t expect your change to last. This is because most new things come and go. Most people have a career of experience watching new initiatives fizzle away. They have learned over the years that if they wait it out long enough, this too shall pass. It’s a flavor of the month until you prove otherwise.
  5. Most corporate change efforts focus on the behaviors (let’s make three calls a day) but not the mindset or emotion behind them (the fear of rejection that prevents people from making proactive calls). Behavior always follows thinking. It’s impossible to outperform — or outsell — your mindset. Start your corporate change by addressing the mindsets that are necessary to create the behaviors beneficial to your change.
  6. People focus on what they think is important to their boss. This means managers must regularly show their teams that the new initiative is a priority to them. How? By talking about it on a regular basis. At a minimum, there should be a weekly cadence of communication about the new initiative. Daily communication makes the change even more likely to stick.
  7. The new initiative should be broken down into individual actions. What does each person have to do to implement the new corporate change within their role in the company? Like personal habits, new business pursuits should be broken down into the smallest, repeatable steps.
  8. These actions must be simple, not complicated. They must be very fast to do, not time intensive. If they are difficult, people won’t do them. If they take a long time, people will avoid them. Your people are just looking for a reason to not do your new tasks. Don’t give them one. Making change is difficult, and we must take away as many excuses as possible preemptively.
  9. A system of tracking and accountability is very important for making the corporate change permanent. How will people show you they are doing the new thing? How will you get visibility to the daily progress of the new implementation? How will you respond to people’s reports, to appreciate, motivate, and cheer them on?
  10. Public internal recognition has a significantly greater impact on making the change permanent than financial incentives. This is, in part, because not everyone needs more money, but nearly all humans strive for approval. Recognition also teaches the new initiative to everyone receiving it and causes those not being recognized to aspire to be next.
  11. Making corporate change is difficult. Salespeople are the most challenging group within an organization to make changes with. They are independent, strong-willed, stubborn, entrepreneurial, and often not even under the same roof as the rest of the company. To make a change with salespeople, you need to choreograph as many of these items as possible, to give yourself every advantage.

Would you like to implement systematic revenue growth at your organization to create 15-30% new, organic sales annually? Please call me at 847-459-6322 to discuss, or simply reply to this message. Thank you.