There are two types of attitudes about change: you either thrive on it or you hate it.
Some people love the freshness of something different and embrace new experiences like an old friend. They’re the ones who initiate new programs, redecorate, take exotic vacations and don’t think twice about picking up and moving on.
Those who resist change cling to stability, stick a toe in the water and seek comfort in what is consistent and continual. They’re the ones who still have “un-smart” phones and a VCR for recording their favorite TV shows. They vacation at the same place every year and usually do it the same week of the same month.
And somewhere in between are those who believe in their minds they want to grow and change but haven’t the intestinal fortitude to actually do it. They read up on new technology but never use it. They collect exotic recipes, but never prepare them. They procrastinate for so long they actually sabotage their chance at real growth.
There are business owners who don’t pursue a new type of clientele. They stick with old fashioned cash registers instead of computerized sales systems. They don’t do any research or development of new product lines or improved services. Why?
Often we’re convinced change will affect our productivity and increase our stress. Once we have what we consider an efficient routine, we’re afraid to interrupt it. Making changes takes re-training time, which can be stressful. But being stagnate isn’t the answer. We need to plan instead for the interruption and the potential decrease in productivity and factor those costs into the overall change.
Sometimes making changes makes us feel as if the way we were doing things before was a mistake. If we improve a product, maybe the product we sold before just wasn’t doing the job. Instead, we need to develop a mindset that reminds us these changes are the result of new technology, new research or other events that have had a definite impact on the market.
And finally, we resist succumbing to fear of the unknown. We may know that our services are outdated and our products could improve, but we’re comfortable with what we know. We have no idea what will happen if that new technology short circuits or people just don’t like our new service. Remember the debacle that was New Coke?
Again, we need to face the potential side effects of change and prepare for them. If we investigate and identify potential problems involved in change, we can implement best practices for dealing with them.
Change is healthy and businesses that ignore market trends will die the way of the pay phone.
But change doesn’t have to be painful or scary. Preparation and research are key. The vacation can still be the same week of the same month. But research into a new location can reveal fun activities and experiences worthy of taking a different route.
Dana Dittmar is CEO of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce.