A Prudent Project

Disrupt Yourself by Whitney Johnson
Disrupt Yourself by Whitney Johnson
Exploring the application of Whitney Johnson's four principles of self-disruption in addressing unconscious bias within auto sales

The research

To explore the application of Whitney Johnson's four principles of self-disruption in addressing unconscious bias within auto sales, a study, aimed at enhancing sales performance in an increasingly competitive and diverse market, can be designed. The core hypothesis of this study would be that implementing self-disruption strategies can lead to a more inclusive sales approach, ultimately driving sales growth by catering to a broader and more diverse customer base more effectively.

The study would unfold in several stages, each corresponding to one of Johnson's principles:

1. Target a Need that Can Be Met More Effectively

Objective: Identify areas within the auto sales process where unconscious bias may be negatively impacting customer engagement and sales outcomes.

Method: Conduct a qualitative analysis of customer feedback and sales data to pinpoint stages in the sales process where customers from diverse backgrounds experience dissatisfaction. This could involve surveys, interviews, and reviewing sales interactions through CRM systems.

Application: Develop training programs focused on recognizing and overcoming unconscious biases. Introduce tools and frameworks to help sales professionals effectively identify and meet the unique needs of diverse customers.

2. Identify Your Disruptive Strengths

Objective: Empower sales professionals to leverage their unique strengths in creating an inclusive sales environment.

Method: Utilize personality assessments and performance data to help sales professionals identify their strengths. Conduct workshops to explore how these strengths can be used to connect with and serve diverse customers.

Application: Encourage sales professionals to apply their unique strengths in innovative ways, such as developing personalized engagement strategies that resonate with customers from various cultural backgrounds.

3. Step Back (or Sideways) in Order to Grow

Objective: Encourage sales professionals to adopt new perspectives and approaches in engaging with diverse customers.

Method: Implement rotational programs where sales professionals can experience different roles within the organization, including positions focused on market analysis, customer service, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Application: Facilitate learning and growth opportunities that challenge sales professionals to step outside their comfort zones. This could involve mentorship programs with colleagues from different cultural backgrounds or training sessions on cultural competency.

4. Let Your Strategy Emerge

Objective: Foster a culture of adaptability and continuous learning within the sales team to better serve a diverse customer base.

Method: Establish a feedback loop where sales professionals can share insights and lessons learned from engaging with diverse customers. Use this feedback to refine sales strategies and practices continually.

Application: Encourage sales teams to experiment with new sales techniques and approaches that cater to the diverse needs and preferences of customers. Recognize and reward innovative practices that contribute to a more inclusive sales environment.

Study Design

The study would be longitudinal, tracking sales performance, customer satisfaction, and team diversity engagement over time. Pre- and post-intervention data would be collected to assess the impact of implementing Johnson's principles on sales outcomes and customer diversity engagement.

Data Collection: Sales performance data, customer satisfaction surveys, employee feedback on training and development activities, and qualitative interviews with customers and sales professionals.

Analysis: Compare sales performance and customer satisfaction before and after the interventions. Analyze changes in employee attitudes and behaviors towards diversity and inclusion.

Outcome Measures: Increase in sales to diverse customer groups, improvement in customer satisfaction scores among these groups, and positive shifts in sales professionals' attitudes and behaviors towards engaging with diverse customers.

This study aims to illustrate how self-disruption, when applied to the auto sales industry, can lead to significant improvements in creating a more inclusive and successful sales environment. By focusing on personal growth and adaptability, sales professionals can better meet the needs of a diverse customer base, driving sales growth and fostering a culture of inclusivity.

Disrupt Yourself by Whitney Johnson (CEO of Disruption Advisors).

Published by Harvard Business Review Press (November 12, 2019)