I just finished reading “Immunity to Change” and it was very eye opening in the sense that we sometimes have personal commitments that run counter to our goals. A good example of this concept is someone who is committed to everyone thinking they are wise and are averse to decisions that would make them appear unwise. The downside to that commitment is it will invariably keep them from making critical decisions that are outside of the “normal” way of addressing unexpected situations and the resulting changes.
As a business strategist, my responsibility to my clients is not only helping them reach their stated goals but coaching them through removing self-imposed barriers. Therefore, I wanted to share three quick tips on not letting subconscious commitments (fear) keep you from achieving the success you desire.
Describe how important the changes are to your long-term growth
For this scenario, we are going to assume you have done your strategic plan and have identified a couple of resources necessary to reach your next stage growth; new software and one employee. In each case I want you to list all of the benefits of having each of the resources in a manner similar to below.
· Increased productivity
· Better customer behavior tracking
· CRM capabilities
· Shorter learning curve for new employees
· Greater service capacity
· Consistent social media management
· Greater customer engagement
· More time for me to grow the business
While this may look like the beginning of a “pros & cons” chart, it is different because of the intent. The intent in this case, is to establish the value of the proposed change, not from a dollars and cents perspective, but for its ability to move you or your company towards growth and sustainability.
Describe what happens if you don’t implement the changes
· Fewer clients due to input time and data tracking
· Less effective marketing
· Fewer add-on sales and up work
· Longer training period for new employees
· Lower service capacity (stagnant sales)
· Longer path to thought leadership
· Sporadic customer engagement
· Slower market expansion due to working “in” the business instead of “on”
As you can see this is slightly different from just stating cons, this is a realistic expectation of what happens if your resistance to change persists. Resistance to change can manifest itself in many ways from believing it would be too expensive for the changes to feeling the pressure of bringing on your first employee and all the responsibilities therein. Therefore, the final step is to list what extraordinary steps you are willing to take to implement the changes. These are not change specific, but actions on your part.
Describe what extraordinary steps you are willing to take
· Add the software and employee and all the related expenses to your P&L and cashflow statements to show true costs.
· Perform two-year revenue projections, with anticipated gains in revenue because of change implementation
· Build a detailed job description for the new employee based on their ability to drive the benefits listed previously
· Develop strict timelines for implementation of each change including an action plan
· Work with the software company to ensure their product can deliver within your timeline and what types of support is available to make certain it happens
· Budgeting the next quarter and making sacrifices to create the necessary capital
· Getting accountability coach (free or paid) to keep you on task and not allow you to back out of the change process
The most important strategy in this section is the accountability coach. This is someone you respect for their accomplishments, not how much money they have. Your coach should urge you to reach inside of yourself for the answer and not prescribe someone else’s solution. Resistance to change many times is rooted in fear and we build in safeguards that keep us from feeling vulnerable or susceptible to those fears, even though they may be counter to our goals. A great book on this subject is Feel the Fear Do It Anyway.
You can apply these tips to any change from losing weight to proposing to your love interest. They may not be scientific, but are very effective in helping you feeling confident in makes changes that scare or intimidate you.
Previously Published on Medium