September 12th, 2012

SellingPower Video: Change Management Basics for Sales Leaders

If change were a gesture, what would it look like? Chaotic hand waving, totally crazy and out of control, according to Richardson President and CEO David DiStefano.

To try to visualize what change would look like as a hand gesture is an interesting concept. What is not surprising, however, is that the motion would not likely be a fluid, good natured, positive, or simple one. In this video interview with Selling Power TV, Mr. DiStefano talks about change in the workplace and offers Richardson’s model to help their clients successfully navigate the change process.

Without a doubt, we live in an age of accelerated change. Obvious change factors include evolving social media and new technology. But don’t overlook changing workplace dynamics as well as regulatory, environmental, and demographic drivers. And one other that should not be overlooked is the turbulent economy.

The pressure to maintain pace and stay connected with your customers is constant. But it is difficult to mace the acceleration of change. It is important to collect and analyze “big data” to look for trends in your business. However, what’s more important than being able to measure the pace of acceleration is the ability to deal with the change in the best way possible.

In a few months, Hammer and Champy’s landmark business book “Reengineering the Corporation” will be 20 years old. We’ve been talking about change in the workplace for decades, yet no one has been able to succinctly define it. And we know that while many thoughtful strategies for change are presented, most fail to achieve the desired results.

Richardson follows the *ADKAR® change management model, which stands for:

  • Awareness
  • Desire
  • Knowledge
  • Ability
  • Reinforcement

Here’s an explanation of each phase.


It’s a leader’s job to introduce the change initiative and increase awareness throughout the company. He or she should articulate what the organization is trying to accomplish (e.g., transforming your sales process to better align with customers’ buying processes), and explain what is happening and what each employee’s role will be in the change going forward. What will be different from an employee’s perspective? What does the end result look like?


Desire translates into motivation. Just telling someone what’s happening and how their role will change doesn’t mean that they’ll be interested in or passionate about it. Desire tries to answer for employees, “What’s in it for me?” How will they benefit as a result of the change? Each answer should be placed into the context of the individual role so that everyone can identify with the cause.


Knowledge is the point at which most of the capability building occurs. It is in this phase in which most of Richardson’s customers seek solutions to help teach their sales staffs new ways, skills, and processes as well as set expectations and provide coaching for managers.


Ability is where the rubber meets the road. That’s doing the job and applying the knowledge they’ve gained. In the sense of a sales leader, it means coaching, and holding them accountable through expectations, inspection, and measurement of progress toward the change.


New knowledge will erode over time if not used and applied on a consistent basis. It’s critical for leaders to reinforce the learning, expected behaviors, and desired outcomes each day as part of their regular operations and routines.

So at the end of this process, what would a gesture that symbolizes successful change look like? Watch the interview to find out.

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*ADKAR® and ADKAR® terms are registered trademarks of Prosci. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

About The Author: David J. DiStefano

David DiStefano is a seasoned executive with nearly three decades of successful senior management experience with both early-stage and global organizations. Over his career David has managed finance, operations, sales, and demand generation functions. For the last 17 years, David has been instrumental in leading Richardson to its place as a premier global sales performance organization.

David J. DiStefano

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