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Change is Hard, But Essential to Growth


"No pain, no gain" is especially true when it comes to pursuing improvements.


Just a few weeks ago, VDB changed CRM systems. It was hard! We were used to the old CRM. We knew exactly which buttons to push, where to look for reports, how to look up customers, and how to send out email. We had built muscle memory around working with that system, so we didn’t have to think a lot about the tool we were using – just the work we had to do.

Then, we switched. We switched for good reasons, but it was still painful. We needed to learn new screens, new vocabulary, new everything. It felt like work slowed down to a crawl.

So, why did we do it? Because there were benefits to making the change that we really wanted. And you know the saying . . . no pain, no gain!

You may be considering similar changes in your own business. Maybe your dad started working with your cash register company in the 1980s, your current marketplace in the late ‘90s, or our current POS in the early 2000s. Your entire company has built muscle memory around using those tools. Switching would be hard! But every day you find yourself wishing that those tools did things in a more modern way, integrated better with your website, or made it easier to do business virtually.

Change is hard, but it is completely essential to growth. If you wait for an easy change to come along, you’ll never make important changes, and you’ll find your business falling further and further behind your competitors.

Perhaps you’ve already made up your mind that you want to change, but you can’t get the buy-in you need from older employees – or parents! – who aren’t as enthusiastic about learning something new as you are. That can be a real challenge. But if you engage them in conversation, they can probably remember a time when they were younger and change was something they were arguing for – not against.

Fear of change is really about fear of one’s ability to learn something new, fear of failure, or fear of the unknown. If you want to drive change in your organization, you need to tackle those three fears.

If people are afraid of something new, then it’s your job to bring all the information to them and make it familiar to them. Then, it won’t feel so new. If people are afraid of failure, then it’s your job to talk to others who have made a similar change. Find out what worked – and what didn’t! – from them, and discuss how you will avoid making similar mistakes. Make a plan to help mitigate all the things you anticipate could go wrong. Doing the first to things (familiarization, making a plan) will help mitigate fear of the unknown.

You probably don’t have any desire to drive the same car your dad drove in 1953 (unless it’s a 1953 Porsche Spyder). So don’t give in to using the same tools your business has been using for a generation. Learn to do the work of change, and let your business benefit from the growth – and lessons! – that follow.