It’s Not a Motivation Issue!

By Dennis Klemp

“The Tao of OutSell Coaching”

Yes, it is Possible to Change the Behaviors of the Resistors

For the record, I’m one of those people who genuinely dislike change of any kind. My comfort level is with what I know works. So for me to change my behavior, much less make anything a habit is a pretty daunting challenge. And I’d venture to say that I’m not much different in that regard than other top performers on your team.

Let me give you an example:

Glen, a new Regional VP and I are working through our monthly goal setting meeting and talking about a Key Performance Area for him: Team Development.  Glen is visibly frustrated as he explains:

“Personally, I think the process is great. I’m totally on board and know it’ll help my guys. But here’s the bad news – I have two people who just don’t buy into adopting a different way to sell. And like it or not, these are the two guys most of my team looks up to. And I’ve spent a ton of time trying to get these guys to see it my way, but I think I’m pushing water uphill.  What should I do?”

Sound familiar?

Why is it that sometimes even though it’s the best thing for the individual, team or organization, not all the players see it your way? Worse – they give the rest of the team a reason to question your leadership and by example, thumb their nose at the very thought of compliance. Great. Now because they don’t buy in, everyone else thinks it’s OK to do the same.

Here’s one way I know works for changing behavior:

Good problem resolution is due to good problem diagnosis. 

So how do we make a clear diagnosis? Relevant questions and crystal clear expectations!

To coach and address the issue of behavioral non-compliance you and I need to know:

  • Do they really understand the expectations? How clear have we been in communicating what we expect from them in specific terms?
  • Do they understand the benefits to them personally? What’s in it for them? And do they get how it will help them if they get good at whatever it is we’re asking them to do (skill, habit, behavior)? What’s the payoff?
  • Do they understand why we’re asking them to do this? It’s extremely normal for people to be skeptical, especially if they’ve had good results doing it “their way.”

In my experience, people need to have the following in place before they’re willing to put forth the commitment to make it happen.

They need to know 5 things:

  1. What do you want me to do?
  2. Why do you want me to do it?
  3. What’s in it for me if I do it? 
  4. What’s the downside if I don’t?
  5. How do I do it? 

First of all it’s very helpful to personally walk through the 5 questions above (Socratically of course) and and be certain about the answers.

As a very old saying goes, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.” We need to face the reality that change is inevitable for all of us.

The question is: How will you handle the “outliers” and “resistors” the next time you need your team to change their behavior?

Right now choose one person on your team who is resistant to changing a behavior that your company and/or you expect.  Over the next 10 minutes answer the 5 questions above.  By doing so your thoughts on the conversation that is necessary will begin to crystallize and your confidence will increase.  Once you have done this schedule time on your calendar with this person to address these same questions and answers with them.

One last bit of advice; the meetings not over when the conversation ends.  You must let them know the expected behavior or activity will be measured and set a specific time to revisit and celebrate their progress sooner rather than later.

Please reach out to me and share your successes and challenges!

You can reach me at [email protected]