Friday, 19 May 2017

Having a solution with no problem? Selling to an unwilling customer?

One of the difficult aspects of managing change is when someone can see a problem and a solution, but makes the mistake of going directly from A to B and hitting a brick wall.

Often the reason isn’t that the person you are trying to convince doesn’t like the solution, but more simply they don’t see that there is a problem. It it’s not broke don’t fix it.

There are a dozen reasons I don’t like the phrase “It it’s not broke don’t fix it”. If we all took that approach we wouldn’t have left the cave, nor invented cars to replace carriages or any of the other industrial or technological achievements of the last 100 years.

So what’s the best approach?

Henry Ford once said “If I asked the customer what they want they’d asked for faster horses”.

Another visionary was Steve jobs. At a 1982 planning retreat, someone on the Mac team, “thought they should do some market research to see what customers wanted. ‘No,’ [Jobs] replied, ‘because customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them.’”

What these approaches have in common is SPIN

What is the current situation?

Why is this sub-optimal or unacceptable?

What is the likely outcome if change doesn’t happen?

What are the implications for the person organisation?

What do they need to address all the points above?

By taking a step-by-step approach you will have checked a deeper understanding of issues, challenges, perceptions, concerns at each step culminating in an agreed need. Only when you get to this stage have you got a customer who may be interested in your solution.

What do you think?


Tim Rogers is an experienced Management Consultant, Project and Change Leader. He is also Commonwealth Triathlete and World Championships Rower and a Tutor/Mentor on the Chartered Management Institute.

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