Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Selling in a VUCA world - resurrection of PMA at the HRD 2012

The "Remain standing  if you..." game and
 introduction to
Impact International fun facilitation 
at the Topic Taster zone on
 Thursday 26th April 2012 at HRD 2012 
Last week I dropped into an intriguing session-taster entitled 'Leadership in a VUCA world' by Impact International at the HRD 2012 It  got me thinking.

V.U.C.A. = volitality, uncertainty,complaexity and ambiguity

 The short session started with a group  icebreaker. The leader got us to play a simple game based on a scheme entertainer Graham Norton uses with his audiences from time to time. 

First our facilitator asked everyone to stand up. 

Then he asked  a series of questions starting with“ Remain standing if you …”. I met a couple of very nice HR professionals at the session one from BA and the other from the Public sector. We formed a trio to discuss how VUCA  related to our various businesses.
Our discussions got me to thinking how much B2B Selling takes place in a VUCA world . Here is the exercise adapted. Imagine you are in the HRD conference in the Topic taster Zone,

“Remain standing if you are finding yourself selling in  markets that  seem to  be changing constantly and speedily”

“Remain standing if you are selling where there is a lack of predictability in issues and events are peppered with surprises,.”

“Remain standing if  your  sales organisation is being increasingly  assaulted by a multiplicity of forces and issues resulting in chaos and confusion that surrounds the  organisation.”

“Remain standing if the market you sell in a market where regulations, sector initiatives render unintended consequences.”

 I suspect that is quite likely that in your mind you would  be  still be standing with me through several of the above. Perhaps Sales has always been undertaken in a VUCA condition.

The contradictory pressures of both growth and control have long created a paradox and require a delicate balancing act by sales leaders .

This paradox is  heightened even further by increasing pressures for growth, both in external VUCA conditions, and the  internal processes behaviours and capabilities that have their roots in a previous age of stability and competition based on efficiency of 15 years ago.

The principles of VUCA tend to shape your own selling and your sales organisation's capacity to:

 1. Anticipate the Issues that shape Buying and Selling Conditions

 2. Understand the Consequences of Issues and Actions to  both your  Client journey and the matching sales cycle.

 3. Appreciate the Interdependence of Variables e.g. negotiating variables Time , Resource , Money etc.

 4. Prepare for Alternative Realities and Challenges .e.g. contingencies and 'Plan B'

 5. Interpret and Address Relevant Opportunities – necessity is the mother of invention

For most sales organisations  – VUCA can act as practical process for awareness and readiness to improve your sales process.

Beyond the simple acronym is a body of knowledge that deals with learning models for VUCA preparedness, anticipation, evolution and intervention.
<><><><><><> </> <><><><><><> </> <><><><><><> </>
VUCA Volatility ,Uncertainty,
 Complexity and Ambiguity
There are also implications for those in full time sales training whether sales coaches or sales managers in this VUCA world.

Rote memorisation of sales processes, skills routines and remembering facts and figures are becoming  less important. Salespeople can and do research on their own.

"Just in time learning" via mobiles  and tablets etc. is on the increase.

The question arises: If we sell in a V.U.C.A. world, what do we do with regarding to sales training ?

 “Martini moments of learning” – any time – any place , anywhere

For Sales trainers this means we will increasingly need to make our content much more discoverable and able to be  searched.
When designing training interactions they will need to be are more self standing modules, so that delegates can access any piece/ session at any time and  in any sequence.

However the convenience of mobile learning may still require considerable support to the learner in terms of providing quality material suitably discerned and analysed.

The emphasis of trainers and sales managers in this VUCA environment should be in three areas of change: accepting, experimenting and embracing.

From some of the data in the new  CIPD Talent Managment and learning Study 2012 there appears in some quarters a resistance to the paradigm shift in training and technology.

Many are  still persevering with in house conventional tutor led interactions. Trainers should accept that the change is indeed inevitable, experiment with new and undiscovered methods for training and learning, and embrace the changes in technology and use them to the delegates’ advantage.

They will have to in any case because the delegates are driving it.
Slide from the Impact International
 Facilitation on VUCA session at HRD 2012

VUCA  – Threat or Opportunity?

If you believe that efficiency is the only basis for performance and improvement ,that  belief will require increasing control and predictability of your sales environment .It is easy to see only the business world as one  of  just risk. Life is a series of windfalls and body blows.

Yet the history of sales growth, indeed the innovative persistence in selling, has been built on a combination /balance  of two essential conditions.

 First, a proactive capacity to make new connections with clients, finding new niches, exploring new ways through the various obstacles of the sales process.  Nurturing and developing new ideas is part of a salesperson’s make-up.

Second, a volatile market that enables and rewards this capacity to prospect and make new opportunities , will force and accelerate the need for new combinations.

A VUCA world provides the second half of this equation, bestowing on all Salespeople,  markets ( and their buyers) crying-out for new insights, connections, and ideas – whether we like it or not!

Tipping the effects of this from threat to opportunity requires us to address the first half of the balanced equation. A capability to continually make sense of a changing environment and seek out new and novel ways of creating value requires a growth mind-set.
Such a mind-set used to be called PMA (Positive Mental Attitude )
Perhaps it's time for the publishers to reissue update  books on PMA by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone, Dale Carnegie * on ebooks . Time for motivational speakers like Anthony Robbins to return to top billing for more roadshows whether live or on-line.

* I will be reviewing the updated 'How to Win friends and Influence People' for the Digital Age next month
Related Links :

Impact specialises in developing and inspiring leaders; manage change effectively; identify, develop and retain talent. With over 30 years' experience , they operate across the world.

Background Reading

Converge magazine 2007 –  Fingertip Knowledge – memorisation no longer key to learning plus view of Educator Elliott Masie

No comments:

Post a Comment