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Are You Too Comfortable?

by Cynthia Kay

Do you hate it every time you get a new phone and have to learn how to operate it?

Does the thought of Windows XP going away make you shake with fear?

Are you continuing to make products that are no longer great sellers?

Are you still employing someone that really does not perform?

I could go on, but you get the idea. We are, by nature, adverse to change. But the reality is that day after day business keeps moving ahead. There are new customers to serve, new products to create and new challenges to overcome. To keep pace you have to evolve. You have to break the old habits and employ new tools. That is not easy and it might cost you some time, money and a few gray hairs.

Recently it became obvious that my business is getting more and more complicated.  Customers are asking for projects to be completed more quickly. There are more change orders. There are more decision makers. We are traveling more often.  More people within the organization are involved in each project.

When faced with work challenges most us think the answer is to try to work harder and faster. We try to use our existing systems or procedures and make them work even if they are outdated. That’s what I did. One of our newer team members had a fresh perspective on the business and asked. “Why don’t we look for a new system to help us connect everything we do from the time a project is in the concept phase right up through to sending the bill?”   He had done some research and had some recommendations for a system that would do just that.

I was skeptical. I was used to, and comfortable with, how we moved work through our place. I had lots of excuses for not considering a change. Maybe our process wasn’t perfect but everyone knew what to expect.  We are too busy to learn a new system. The system we are using is free and this one requires an investment.

Fortunately I remembered what I have preached for years. Change is good. We are moving to the new system and while I am sure we will have some “pain” I know it will help us be more efficient.  But, it is not just about changing technologies. Change may be necessary in other aspects of your business. We should all evaluate the products or services we offer, the profile of our ideal customer or the facilities we operate.  Pay attention to what you are doing. Does it still make sense for your business or are you just comfortable?

As the leader of an organization, it’s important to encourage employees to make suggestions about changes or improvements. Then evaluate the suggestions and when change is indicated- embrace it.

Change is never easy but it is often worth it.

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