They say that the only constant in life is change.

Maybe.

Perhaps there’s also our natural human desire to avoid change.

I read once that unless you have a life-changing event of some kind, the person you are at 23 is the person you will be for the rest of your life. I agree with that. An older client of mine said that he looks in the mirror some days and doesn’t recognise the person looking back because inside he still feels the same as he did in his 20s.

And apparently when you reach 30, generally speaking you know who you are, what you like and what you want.

That tells me that it takes on average a human being 7 years from becoming the person they will be for the rest of their life to actually knowing who that person is. Blimey, we’re slow on the uptake aren’t we?

But even if you know who you are and have got the life you want, you still have to change in order to stay the same. Because even if you’ve decided to stand still, the rest of the world refuses to comply.

While you’re busy trying to polish and perfect your business or life some other bugger is working just as hard on something that will disrupt it.

If you’re aim is 5% growth per year in your business, good luck with that. The model for 5% growth this year won’t work next year. Your perfect marketing activity will be overtaken by some other marketing activity that someone else is doing.

And that 5% growth means 5% more staff. If you had 20 staff, now you’ve got 21 or you’ve still got 20 who are 5% more stressed than they were last year.

I sometimes look back on the year 2014 as A4G’s year of Peak efficiency.

The team was really settled with our managers mostly made up of team members who had come through the ranks and were really confident in their roles.

I remember saying to a friend that it was all going far too smoothly. Something was bound to go wrong.

It did.

Albeit not in the worst way.

One of those managers announced she was pregnant and would of course be going on maternity leave.

“Ok; we can cope.”

Then another one told me the same. And another. And another.

Over 18 months, 9 members of staff went on maternity leave. 6 came back. Several doing less hours than before.

At one point a client asked me “how many of your staff have you got pregnant?”. My reply was “Can I make it clear that I haven’t got any of them pregnant; they’ve done it all by themselves!”.

Of course, the point was that 2014 was a bit of a mirage. One year, when everything perfectly clicked into place and there was very little change.

Maybe your business had a year like that.

Maybe you’ll have a year like than in 2022 or 2023. You certainly haven’t had it in 2020 or 2021!

If you do, I doubt you will recognise it when it happens. You’ll probably only recognise it when you look back nostalgically.

Because change is constant. Employees leave or go on maternity leave, your business grows, technology advances, a new competitor emerges.

Embracing change is as you would expect a key part of the BackleyBlack mindsetting programme and I enjoyed my discussion with Steve and Roger this week which you can see on this week’s video. 

But coping with changes forced upon you is not enough.

Sometimes you need to be the disruptor.

Disruptor is a term usually reserved for those few business people who enter a stable (or stale) industry with a new offering and change the way that it works. Think Elon Musk.

Or maybe its on a smaller scale. An advert on the radio today claimed that the company concerned had “re-invented the doorbell”. Indeed, they have. Nowadays with the right doorbell you can see who is at the door on your phone even if you are thousands of miles away.

Really annoying for those whose business making old-fashioned doorbells has been disrupted.

But we all need to be disruptors in our own businesses sometimes. Disrupting was the 5th of my 5 D’s of management covered in an article last year.

Disrupting won’t make you popular.

And it probably won’t be the most enjoyable day you’ll spend this year. But it is necessary to go off on that journey which starts with some awkward questions about a key performance indicator, continues with a deep dig into the root causes and ends with that dreadful moment when you find out that one or more of your team has been doing something that has been costing the business money, customers or both for weeks, months and even years.

As frustrating as those journeys are, they have to be done.

Because without those days, the following day doesn’t happen. You know the one where you woke up really early fretting about what you’d uncovered the day before. The 4am fret followed by 6am leap out of bed and into action. Change is afoot.

Or you press the snooze button, roll over for another doze, close your eyes and hope that your staff will magically think as commercially as you do.

Spoiler alert – they won’t.

If the change doesn’t come from you, then it probably won’t come from anyone. Perhaps that’s the third thing that never changes!

Have a good weekend.

Contact me today!

Malcolm Palmer

FCA

Managing Partner

01474 853856

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