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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

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Business Development...Sales...Talk the Organization...being the Face of the Firm for the public - these are all part of the role of a key executive (specifically mentioned in the job description as 'other tasks as assigned').

When I was CEO, I was the Chief of Business Development, Chief of Sales, Chief of Ops, Chief of Finance - you get the picture - and responsible for the entire organization.

When I was COO I was head of Ops and Deputy Chief of BD and Sales many sales are made in ops and are written up in the Sales Department.

Imagine a nation is a world power, but the goods and services segment has an isolationist and protectionist viewpoint. The world power would quickly decline to a regional stronghold and beyond that to a marginal nation because it could not compete in the international marketplace.

Same applies to organizations through their leaders (perhaps on a smaller scale). Part of each key person's role includes some portion of all functional areas and to ignore or exclude one weakens the individual's effectiveness.

In the situation described above, I would suggest that BBD become part of what the individual will undertake or set the sights lower to a non-key staff functional position.