Even so, unless light is shone upon individual and depart- mental weaknesses and liabilities, behavior modification that leads to a mind-set for improvement is improbable. This step will be no easier for a salesperson (i.e., “role model”). The salesperson’s occasional misguided behavior is as real as anyone else’s. However, the only way salespeo- ple can counsel others is by first personally and successfully experiencing the emotional and psychological conflicts that the “See it” step creates. • Own it. Accepting responsibility for one’s circumstances is as distasteful as initially admitting their existence (i.e., the “See it” step). Essentially, one must confess that personal past decisions and/or actions have caused problems— serious ones, at times. Conners, Smith, and Hickman de- scribe the “Own it” period this way: “‘Owning it’ requires a candid effort to acknowledge what everyone would rather sweep under the carpet before it’s too late.” “Owning it” suggests that, to a degree, unfortunate cir- cumstances or involvement in a failed plan is one’s own doing. Be aware that a probable roadblock toward owner- ship will be the desire to filter out self-condemning evi- dence, deny reality, and slip back into the victimization stage. Accepting responsibility for participating in or caus- ing unfortunate circumstances may be more objectionable than recognizing their existence to begin with. Ownership clearly implies being part of the problem—not an easy fact to concede. Yet without ownership, accountability becomes an impotent catchword, producing only a superficial spot- light on the truth. • Solve it. Creativity is an abundant characteristic inherent in suc- cessful sales reps’ gene pools. It is also a skill set of enor- mous value to building a culture of accountability. Key to this stage, however, is the salesperson’s willingness to use the knowledge, expertise, and wisdom of others, whose on- the-job experiences can add valuable insight to problem- solving and improvement options. When others in the company lose their fear of being vic- timized, their willingness to think outside the box with edi- fying and imaginative solutions will slowly emerge. Once convinced that open and sometimes unconventional ideas are welcomed without being ridiculed or debased, a com- mitment for accountability will be less resisted and eventu- ally become an accepted component of their job. • Do it. The final step should be a welcomed one, yet because risk of failure may still be fresh in everyone’s minds, hesi- tation and, perhaps, even reluctance must be anticipated. Preparing for some foot-dragging is part of the “Do it” procedure. Therefore, in a straightforward and reassuring way, a procedure to address some bumps in the road should be formulated and reviewed with all involved: ✓ Define how new/expected results will be measured. ✓ Expect obstacles; warn against returning to the “victim” stage. Offer time to discuss fears and worries. ✓ Identify and agree to what is and is not controllable. ✓ Advise participants of their role and assignment(s) and the importance of each. ✓ Challenge members to analyze what behaviors, poli- cies, and procedures should be stopped, started, and con- tinued in their job responsibilities, their departments, and the company (establish ownership of each). ✓ Stress that lack of follow-through is the most common cause of failure. ✓ Always ask, “What else can be done?” ✓ Embrace personal responsibility. Private, sincere accountability can produce optimal personal performance for those committed to the “See it. Own it. Solve it. Do it.” philosophy. For an organization, however, Connors, Smith, and Hickman assert that the long-term results are positively transformative. ; Thomas is an independent freelance writer and marketing con- sultant. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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