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The Challenge of Change

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I have been blogging lately about the future of professional selling. Recently, I found something that resonated with what I have been writing about, and I wanted to share it with you:

From “Becoming a Sales Superstar: The Challenge of Change,” by Kathleen M. Adams, Ph.D.

Becoming a strategic and consultative Sales Superstar requires significant changes in your “world view”—how you think about yourself, and how you think about your relationships with key stakeholders. You are faced with new ways of thinking, many of which directly challenge what you have been taught and believe.

When faced with significant innovations in thinking, we tend initially to find ourselves in one of the following three characterizations:

  1. The “Authoritative Critic”
  2. The “Authoritative Expert”
  3. The “Enthusiastic Apprentice”

We can think about these three characters as being on a spectrum that runs from outright rejection to eager acceptance. As we take a brief look at each of these, allow yourself to wonder where on the spectrum you fall in your process of becoming a Sales Superstar.

The Authoritative Critic

This individual quickly dismisses new ways of thinking, outright rejecting them as ridiculous, foolish and unwise. What is this individual’s motivation?

Motivation of the Authoritative Critic? Fear of change, of loss.

The Authoritative Expert

This individual is one who typically responds to the introduction of innovative ideas by rejecting the reality that the ideas are indeed innovative. This individual is typically thinking “What’s the big deal? I’ve always done it this way.”

What is this individual’s motivation? Fear of losing face, of appearing inadequate.

The Enthusiastic Apprentice

This individual is excited by innovative thinking and is eager to learn. She may not understand or totally embrace the innovative concepts, but she is excited about the possibilities that well-informed change may bring about.

What is this individual’s motivation? It is hunger for knowledge and excitement about the possibilities that may come with new knowledge.

The nature of change is dynamic. As much as we might like to believe that change is linear, the truth is that deep transformative change develops in a spiral pattern. As you reviewed the above characteristics, you may have seen parts of yourself in each description.

Knowledge is power. The more aware you can become of your own process of “spiraling” through the process of change, the more conscious and intentional you can be about choosing change, choosing growth, and choosing to become a Sales Superstar.

So where do you fit in? Do you recognize yourself in any of these descriptions?

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Jonathan Farrington is a globally recognized business coach, mentor, author, consultant and chairman of The JF Corporation and CEO of Top Sales Associates. For more information and tips from Jonathan, visit, or go to his blog at