Commercial Integrator 2023 - 25

our predictable default behavior.
Most of all, Dr. Pawliw-Fry emphasized
that teams cannot merely declare their cultural
values and magically reach that " last
8%. " He warned, " Don't put values on the
wall and think that it will change. " Culture
evolves every day, and every decision we
make reflects it. Mindful leaders nurture
team culture during frequent one-on-one
meetings and leverage it to overcome
vexing challenges.
Forces Shaping the Future
Nancy Giordano, a strategic futurist,
offered a presentation explicating the
forces that will shape the enterprise of the
future. Many of these changes, she said,
center on the changing face of the global
workforce, which millennials and Gen Z
will soon come to dominate. According to
Giordano, this group is recalibrating the
definition of " success. " There was a time
when a worker might define a successful
life as owning a large home and driving a
new BMW. For today's 20- and 30-somethings,
however, things are different,
Giordano said. As she put it, " The ultimate
flex right now is freedom. " We see this
in the growing clamor for a four-day
workweek, as well as in many employees'
extreme reluctance to return to a regimented,
nine-to-five, in-office work routine.
This is all part of what Giordano called the
" youthquake. "
Millennials and Gen-Zers also want to
find meaningful values alignment with their
employer. Increasingly, younger talent
seeks to work for companies that concern
themselves with fostering planetary health
and stability, redressing systemic bias and
inequities, and facilitating team members'
well-being and need to reskill. In this way,
then, Giordano said, organizations have
an opportunity to lean into the so-called
" social license to operate " - that is, when
the community recognizes a company
as creating value for a broad range of
stakeholders.
There's an element of courage here,
too. Increasingly, team members are
imploring leaders to ask a provocative
question: " Can we rethink the structures
that are no longer working? " This,
Giordano said, creates an opportunity
to redefine productivity and reinvent
commercialintegrator.com
organizations, jettisoning the hierarchical,
top-down approaches of yesterday. It's in
the liminal gap - the space between old,
broken-down systems and new systems
we have yet to create - that we currently
find ourselves. Giordano believes our collective
future lies in Exponential Productivity
Transformation (XPT), whose practices
involve caring for people, caring for the
planet and caring for each other.
Overcoming Customer Indecision
The penultimate speaker, Ted McKenna,
a sales and customer-service researcher,
as well as a consultant, elucidated the
magnitude of the indecision problem that
salespeople face. Indeed, he explained
that, according to his research, 40% to
60% of all deals are lost to indecision
- and, in fact, in a turbulent economic
environment like this, those percentages
might be even higher. McKenna presented
information based on a study involving
2.5 million sales calls, evaluating some
8,500 variables among both buyers and
sellers. Average performers had a win
rate of 26%; by contrast, high performers
boasted a much higher win rate (59%).
The difference, he explained, is how
deftly they handle " cold feet " moments.
Average salespeople typically deploy a
FOMO-based strategy, reinforcing why
making the purchase would be a great decision
and why, if the customer misses out,
negative ramifications could materialize.
However, McKenna says, this approach
usually backfires.
According to McKenna, the
reason for this is simple:
Only 44% of customers are
indecisive because they
prefer the status quo;
another 56% of buyers
suffer from FOMU -
fear of messing up.
This enfolds worries
John Rossman, a former
Amazon executive
and a leading voice in
digital transformation and
innovation, distilled some
of the most impactful lessons
gleaned from his time with the
ecommerce giant.
JUNE 2023 Commercial Integrator 25
like having made the wrong choice, not
having done enough homework and being
unable to leverage the solution properly
to get the promised benefits. When the
average salesperson tries to close by fomenting
fear of the status quo, it does the
opposite of addressing FOMU - in fact,
it only makes the buyer more scared. So,
McKenna says, high performers deploy the
JOLT strategy: Judging the customer's level
of indecision; offering a recommendation
that feels personal in nature; limiting
exploration by constraining the choice set;
and taking risk off the table by alleviating
fear of outcome uncertainty. " Stop selling
to them, " he exhorted. " Buy for them. " In
so doing, a high-performing salesperson
becomes someone more akin to an advisor
or agent.
Insights from Amazon
Finally, John Rossman, a former Amazon
executive and a leading voice in digital
transformation and innovation, distilled
some of the most impactful lessons
gleaned from his time with the ecommerce
giant. He emphasized Amazon's primary
leadership principle - namely, customer
obsession, as evidenced by the mission
statement " to be Earth's most customer-centric
company. " Rossman urged attendees
to consider this approach, saying,
" How you think about customer obses
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