Change; the word managers fear

Why can’t the CEO make a decision, when it falls outside his parameters? Why is it so painful?

Last week, I was invited to a local manufacturer. The CEO described the product line, the unique selling points, and what they were looking for in which countries. All clear so far. I said that I had a match for them. Getting better all the time.

And then came “the issue”. They want to pay by success fee alone – ie, commission. I explained that my proven successful business model includes a payment factor. Ouch!

You can imagine the conversation, and I paraphrase:

  • CEO: We only remunerate via commissions
  • Me: I am delivering what you want. This deserves more than commissions.
  • CEO: Commissions only
  • Me: If you tried this by yourself, you are not guaranteed success; it will take you longer; It will cost you more.
  • CEO: But you are not meeting with decision makers overseas.
  • Me: Yes, I am, and I have a follow up service.

Silence. Very long, awkward silence. Followed by a week to think about it.

Now, I want you to understand. I am not mocking the CEO. There is an element of trust to be established. They are not used to doing things outside the box of commissions. They have to change. Very difficult, and most of us do not like change.

Why? Well, I am no shrink. A recent article by Dr Robert Brookes challenges us to face up to those difficult moments.

Change is a process. We have to recognize what needs to be changed, what we have to take responsibility for, what steps we have to assume to make the changes, and how we plan to handle setbacks along the way. Yes, change can be a very challenging task.

Brookes then added as an afterthought.

 If we think what I have just described is hard work, consider the alternatives: living with frustration and unhappiness…….

Maybe that was my mistake. I did not encourage the CEO to consider that they did have an option and they can carry on with unutilised spare capacity.

Change ain’t easy. Funny that many of us cannot do so, although we are always encouraged to think out of the box. Now go and look up the phrase “thinking out of the box” and you will start to appreciate fully why it is difficult to start something new.

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