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Are You The Rider Or The Elephant Of Change?

So I bumped into the ‘change agent‘ I heard speak a while back.

I asked him how his *change* hopes were going.

He sighed,

“change with people can be hard, trying to get them to do something differently…”

He shared with me the analogy he uses to remind of the potential troubles ahead.

Being from The Eastern Cape, he talks of an elephant and its rider.

The elephant can be tamely walking along. And the rider think they are in control. Yet they are never truly in control. One emotion or reaction from the elephant to something, maybe even unseen by the rider, and havoc can ensue.

His metaphor can have you, the seller, as the rider, trying to make change happen. Or it can be the key point-person prospect-side who desperately wants to buy. The elephant can be the people needed to get onside so change can get going. Or even the change itself. You have options when you re-tell it.

So, fundamentals need to happen.

The elephant and rider must both know where they’re headed.

The eventual outcome must be explicit, accepted and known.

They must both follow the same path. So not just being aware of the destination, but the way to get there.

I guess you could easily take this on.

And a quick surf revealed others happily have done just that. All the recent activity in this regard appears to come from the Switch book by the Heath Brothers. More detail and summaries of which abound online.

The oft-most quoted line seems this;

To change behaviour, you’ve got to direct the Rider, motivate the Elephant, and shape the Path.  If you can do all three at once, dramatic change can happen, even if you don’t have lots of power or resources behind you.

So as the job of a solution selling salesperson is so often around making change happen, this is yet another framework to have up your sleeve when trying to both make it happen and manage it.

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