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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Change Agent

Last week a client, a CXO in a large government contractor, said he was ready to move on. “I’m looking for something better, just so it doesn’t involve business development.”

He has spent the last five years leading the introduction of new technologies to a thirty year old organization. Many of his projects are unique, most are successful, and the company has grown more than ten-fold during his tenure. He is an energetic, effective inside guy.

He is fighting increasing resentment from his superiors. They are tired of the constant upgrading, doing what he wants. He is getting whipsawed by The Older I Get, The Better I Was selective memory.

So, he probably has to go. I had the same problem, at the same organization, twenty years ago.

But what about his desire to stay away from business development?

First, BD is a  government contractor word for sales. Their sale is complex, takes place over decades. However, it is sales, not business development. As Seth Godin defines business development, contractors don’t do it.

Why would a great inside guy shy away from sales? He is breaking himself to make the company perform better for “the right reasons,” to fulfill his idea of the way the world should be. If he had a customer paying for it, he would be making the organization better to improve sales and margins. Same result, more authority.

Working out is a process of breaking down your body and then recovering. Making important sales makes your organization stretch to complete more commitments. That involves stretching, breaking down, and recovering. I think they are similar processes. Breakthroughs usually start with a breakdown.

What if important new sales turn out to be the most important change agent for making your organization better? For making your customer’s organization better? Is sales the real change agent?

Your thoughts?

Come to How To Get More Value From Your Existing Resources Tuesday, October 19th, Intelligent Office, Rockville
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