Navigating your team out of their Comfort Zone
Navigating your team out of their Comfort Zone
Let’s be honest here…so many sales people are guilty of staying within their comfort zone…I hear it from Sales Leaders all over the world.
There are a number of reasons for this…some you’ll know well and others may be new to you.
Is the comfort zone all bad?
Of course not…it’s where all your expertise sits. Everything you’ve mastered over the years is in there.
The issue occurs when you cling to those familiar strategies that don’t work. Maybe your sales people are holding on tightly to old habits or possibly too afraid to try new approaches…or both.
Holding on to old unhelpful patterns is really common. People crave to be safe and familiar equals safety. Yes I know that doesn’t make sense especially if they are underperforming which makes their position very risky…and definitely not safe. The mind isn’t always logical, especially when operating from an emotional state.
Trying new things feels dangerous and highly risky…humiliation, embarrassment, failure and potentially losing your job. That’s enough to make anyone feel uneasy especially when they are lacking confidence.
What you can do to make it easier!
Firstly…you need to share the biology that occurs when you go to the edge of your comfort zone so they understand why they become anxious.
Secondly…you have to make it safe for them to step out.
Thirdly…you have to create a Learning Zone strategy that supports growth.
Understanding the biology
Whenever anyone is about to do something new our limbic system is aroused and puts us into a stress response…fight, flight or freeze. This is what’s happened since humans have walked on this planet. Our limbic system hasn’t really evolved since those first human steps so whether you’ve stumbled into an unknown area and are being chased by a tiger or just been asked a question that you don’t know how to answer your body reacts the same.
The tiger is obviously a more serious situation but the limbic system isn’t designed to evaluate the danger…only to respond.
So when you or any of your team get to the edge of your comfort zone your body releases adrenaline and cortisol the same as it would if a tiger just walked into the room.
Our intellect can tell the difference but when we go into the stress response our intellect responds more slowly and the limbic system wins because it’s super-fast because its function is to keep you alive in the event of real danger.
Knowing this means you can prepare ahead of time. You know your limbic system is going to spring into action and you know that nothing is going to kill you in the context of stepping out of your comfort zone. The anxiety is simply a signal to have all your senses on full alert so that you can take in all the information you need to safely navigate this new unchartered territory.
The anxiety experienced doesn’t equal inadequacy…it’s simply a signal to fire up all your senses.
At that point thank your body for working perfectly, tell it your senses are on full alert and your limbic system can get back in its cage.
Why is it important to know this?
Because everyone that experiences anxiety at the edge of their comfort zone interprets it as a sense they will fail, that they are not up to it and they should step back. This is an incorrect assumption.
Yes, more care and a slower pace are required and you can’t do that if your limbic system is going crazy.
Share the good news with your team…their body is working perfectly!
Make it safe
This is something only you can do.
If you get upset or frustrated when they don’t get things exactly right and you share your reactions with them…that’s the most effective way of keeping every person other than the bravest souls well and truly in their comfort zone.
Why would anyone do something that creates a negative reaction from their boss? They won’t!
Could you be more flexible?
Could you see growth as a journey of small steps from novice to mastery?
Are you comparing your chapter 50 to their chapter 5?
Do you have unrealistic expectations?
Real growth only occurs through trial and error. If you don’t make it safe for them to fail then you are part of the problem.
Something for you to ponder!
Learning Zone Strategy
A common misconception is that terror lies beyond the comfort zone when what really surrounds it is an area called the Learning Zone.
This is the place where you can try things out, fail, tweak, practice and perfect new approaches.
This is not the space for mastery…that comes later.
Every new approach will encounter challenges and this is exactly what you want your team to experience because it leads to deeper learning and expertise.
When they don’t get the result they wanted this is a great coaching opportunity for you.
What did they learn?
What will they do differently?
Coach them so that they have the confidence to go again. The more you do this the more resilient they become and with that comes confidence.
They start to willingly step out of their comfort zone because they should now understand that it’s part of the journey of growth.
The path they have to take to greater success!
So much of this comes from you…your acceptance, your support so they feel safe and your coaching to help them grow and thrive.
Until next time,
PS If you need help getting your sales team out of their comfort zone then do get in touch.
Thanks for the great image Daria Shevtsova 😊
“Breath of fresh air – changed the way I feel about approaching people & renewed my excitement about sales and what I need to do to get where I want to be.”