The Times They Are Changin’…
Do you look at shifts in your market, innovations in the building industry, developments in the wider economy, movements in your suppliers and subcontractors and get a little concerned at the way things are moving? Do you worry that these constant challenges may be having an affect on your building business or, dare I say it, on your sanity?
If so then you are not alone.
Change is probably the only constant in today’s world and mastering it is important for continual business success. Now, some businesses adapt. That’s because the ability to change doesn’t actually lie with the business, but with the business owner(s). A business can adapt – but only at the rate that the owner is able to adapt.
Some people love change and others find it challenging. But, whatever your personal orientation toward change, the truth is you can’t stop it taking place. It is happening whether we like it or not.
The problem is that we all have an innate resistance to change – as a protection mechanism – and of course the level of resistance will vary from person to person. But once we overcome this resistance to change anything is possible.
It’s a little like an America’s cup catamaran. When the hulls are in the water, the water’s resistance limits the boat’s maximum speed. But when the foils lift the hulls clear of the water, and overcome the water’s resistance, the boat flies!
So how can you get the lift you need to overcome your innate resistance to change?
Clarify Your Vision
When did you last spend an hour out from your busy schedule and rough out your vision for your business – on paper – not just in your head? Asking yourself, “Where do I want to go?” and “What do I want my business to look like in 12 months time?”
Going hard at your business without a clear vision is like keeping the hulls in the water. Heaps of power in the sails, but little forward motion. Or, like powering up a V8 supercar and leaving it in neutral. Lots of heat and exciting noise – just no forward movement. But when you set a clear picture of the future for your business, or for that matter your life, and aim for it, it greatly lifts the chances of your getting there.
So take an hour away from distraction and write down how you would like your business to look in 12 months time. Draw the organisational chart for your business as you want it to be and include job titles. Describe the clients you will be servicing and the nature of the work you will be doing. Guestimate the revenues and calculate your income. Even find some pictures that look like your business at that stage and attach them to your chart.
Identify Your Dissatisfactions
It’s instinctive to move away from difficult situations. We do it naturally. It’s one of the stronger human motivations – more powerful than vision. What’s more, unless there is a decent amount of dissatisfaction there is little motivation to move to a different one, even if the different situation is better.
So you need to unleash the power of dissatisfaction as it helps overcome the resistance to change.
Ask yourself some questions like, “What is it about my current situation (clients, work, team etc.) that I do not like?” Or, “What is it about my current skill level that I detest?” Don’t be unnecessarily hard on yourself, but do note down on paper your three biggest dissatisfactions. Social scientists tell us that dissatisfaction is a way bigger driver than vision, so spend some time here. The more you dislike your current situation, the stronger will be your motivation to do something about it – the stronger the lift.
Identify Your First Actions
Vision and Dissatisfaction provide the motivation to leave your current state. Like the revving engine of the V8 supercar, they sound exciting, inspire awe but unless connected to actions they will never lead to success.
Good intentions by themselves amount to nothing, because it’s not what you feel that makes the difference, it’s what you DO.
So the last third thing to write down is a short list of the first actions you will take to move you away from your dissatisfactions and toward your vision.
For example if you need more business in the door and you have a natural aversion to doing marketing (your resistance to change), then you need to
- highlight the dismal future if this situation continues (your dissatisfaction)
- build a picture of yourself marketing your business with a great marketing plan (your vision) and
- identify (and take) the first steps to start on your marketing plan.
If there is genuine dissatisfaction, a good enough plan and some well chosen action steps then you will overcome your natural resistance to marketing and your business will begin to benefit. For example, you first action might be to make a list of previous clients and send them an email with a special offer or voucher to give away. Or it may be to checkout some companies that can help you build a focused website, select one and start creating the content that will be needed.
To help you stay focused here is the above summarised as a simple formula.
V x D x F > R
Vision x Dissatisfaction x First Actions > Resistance To Change
If I put together vision, dissatisfaction and first actions I can overcome my resistance to change and start heading towards my vision.