Last week I attended one of the most thought provoking workshops that I have been to in a long time. The workshop was run by local accountancy firm Stark Main and the speaker was Paul Shrimpling who runs a practice called Remarkable Practice. http://www.remarkablepractice.com/about/. The objective of the workshop was to challenge you to constantly look at change in your business and that by doing so and constantly setting goals you will improve the growth of your business.
Obviously any business wants growth but it got me thinking if we are honest do we really like change? All my working life I have been affected by change and you will be the same. In my previous life at the tourist board I implemented lots of change and also had lots of change thrust upon me. We had so many restructures that I eventually gave up counting the number and finally the threat of another one was one of the principle reasons that I left. As I wanted to be a person who was the changer not have change thrust upon me. One of Bright Light Marketing’s key roles is to affect change in businesses and sorry for the pun shine a light on how the marketing of that business can be improved to existing and new customers. But do I like change myself?
I was certainly challenged by change at the workshop. Paul at the start of the workshop asked us all to swop our watches to the opposite wrist. We did and how many of us swapped back straight away? Yes 100% of us. Paul also asked us to fold our arms in the opposite direction did anyone feel comfortable? No we didn’t and this is how Paul got the point across basically no one likes changes and if we could we would all quite quickly go back to what we have always done as that makes us comfortable and secure. Change makes us uneasy, uncomfortable, worried and as one delegate said yesterday simply weird.
Yet change as the saying goes is the one constant in life whither we like it or not we are all changing and growing older every day. We see it more quickly in children and don’t like to think of it ourselves yet we too are changing even those of us who like to believe the claims of the creams and potions that say they will reduce the signs of ageing. Each day the season slowly changes at this time of year I dread it as we slowly and sometimes it feels very quickly make our way to yet another winter. Every day there is some new advancement in technology that will mean change for us as the latest smart phone is no longer the most advanced and there is some new advancement that though we may not know it yet will have an important impact on our lives. And every day something happens in the world that will have an impact on our lives whither for good or for bad.
In business especially if you work for a bigger organisation it always seemed the people who looked like they loved change and welcomed it and implemented it were the ones who advanced their careers. Why because they knew and loved change? I wasn’t always sure though actually they are the ones who would make ideal business owners I think they just knew change is inevitable so why fight it. At first when I was young I stood back in amazement at these people. Then I joined their ranks and embraced it even though I secretly still hated the change. I then became a major changer as I got further up the ranks and ran a department. I then came full circle and had change thrust upon me again. And at this point I realised that I didn’t want to be in a big company rather I wanted to be running a small business with like-minded people where we could constantly change and improve our business and be a beacon for others too.
And we do implement change and we do challenge each other and the clients that we work with. But let’s be honest just like in our homes we often get used to things and it takes someone else to see things that we have got used to or simply don’t want to own up to needs doing. That was the genius of Paul’s workshop. He made me feel uncomfortable at the beginning of the workshop as he yet again made me realise that change is uncomfortable and I don’t like it. Yet change is what life is about and it is through change that we make improvements. Any business that stands still is in jeopardy of failure.
So what have I done as a result? Well two things. For the past few years I have carried out a monthly audit for Bright Light Marketing of where we are and where we are going. Yes I have changed the format from time to time but not radically. So I am going to change it as suggested at the workshop to the one page business plan. And I have changed my watch from my left wrist where it has been for 35 plus years to my right. And when it gets too comfortable I am going to change it back again. As it is a reminder that yes change is uncomfortable, it is a challenge but change is what makes life interesting and it is constantly challenging yourself and your business that will make your business grow. So go set yourself a goal for your business. Then swap your watch to the other wrist and each time you think how strange your wrist feels you will remember your goal. Go on I dare you.