The title is taken, of course, from Marshall Goldsmith’s classic book. The book talks of how being great at the frontline tasks (salesperson) doesn’t make you a good manager. Goldsmith argues that new managers need to stop doing the things that enabled them to be promoted.
I think there is lots of applications for this thinking in change projects. Sometimes change projects are about organisations who have an area in need of revitalisation; departments which are ‘dying’ and need a rebirth. They require one type of change project.
Other times, in the process of growing or scaling an organisation and we’ve needed a certain set of skills and behaviours to get us to this point but for the next phase of growth, we need new ones. For example, often when an organisation ‘goes digital’ it optimises it’s processes. It keeps doing the same thing but does it digitally. However by doing this it opens up new possibilities previously unknown.
In both scenarios, staff are required to unlearn some of the skills and behaviours that enable them to get to the place they currently are. And as Goldsmith argues, this is not easy.