Episode 85: Change Before You Have To

The path to scaling your business is full of change.

Change is inevitable and change is necessary.

But some business owners change too much, too fast.

And others change too little, too slowly.

In this episode of The Elevate Effect™ podcast, we’ll talk about how much change is needed, and when to change.


What You’ll Learn About In this Episode:

  • Change Fatigue
  • Lack of Innovation
  • Controlled Innovation

Hey. Hey, everybody. Welcome to episode number 85 of the Scale to Seven podcast. Today, I wanna talk about change. And when I think about change, what comes to mind first is just a little story, a little behind the scenes, I guess you will, about my husband and I. We are both planners. We both plan things ahead. We like structure and routine, and yet we also enjoy trying new things, but with a little bit of notice.

I don't love to hear there's a surprise ahead of time without knowing what it is. I'd rather just truly be surprised so I don't have to wait. And just in general, like, we kinda follow a schedule. We talk about things days weeks ahead, plan who's gonna take the kids to which activity and when we're gonna take vacation, all of that. So we don't do a whole lot of things that are just totally spontaneous. And whenever I do get this, like, burst of desire for doing something spontaneous, like a quick Weekend trip away that wasn't planned? I might toss out that idea, and he always always says no. Because he's like, no. You're ruining my plans.

I already had things planned out for the weekend, yada yada yada. Right? Like, he'll give all of these excuses. He just doesn't like things to be sprung up on him last minute and to switch directions. I guess you could say he loves being spontaneous. He just needs a little warning because he'll like he likes to try new things. He likes to go to new places, but he likes to know in advance. Whereas, as much as I'm a planner, I do like to have a little bit of surprise, and I think it's exciting when there's just a little burst of something. Now I can't handle too much of that because I do like to know in advance.

So he and I are more alike than different, but he really doesn't like that spontaneous stuff unless he has a warning, which makes it not spontaneous, but you know what I mean. The thing is, after saying all of that, humans need both certainty and variety. We need that bit of routine and we need some spontaneity. Likewise, your business Needs both certainty and some variety, and that means as much as we want things to stay, we really need change as well. And change is inevitable in our lives, but in our businesses too. Not only is it inevitable, it's necessary. Change is necessary to scale your business, but there are always questions that I get about, okay, how much change exactly is necessary? And I've got people in all, like, different camps of wanting change, all the things all the time, or never wanting to change, or just questioning when is the right time to change. And so today, I wanna address all of that in this episode.

Now The first thing I wanna talk about is change fatigue. Now this is for those of you who love change. You love mixing things up. You probably more on the side of being spontaneous, more on the side of starting a lot of things and not finishing them, on the side of, like all the ideas all the time. And I wanna talk about change fatigue because you may not be fatigued by change, but your business and your team will experience change fatigue if you're changing too much too fast. You give your organization whiplash and you create chaos. And what I wanna tell you is that chaos is not required in your business. Karen Martin actually has a quote that chaos is not a condition of doing business.

So instead of just changing all of the things even when they sound like brilliant ideas. I'm going to encourage you, if you fall in this category, to slow down and think about the people, the people involved, your customers, your team, not just the programs, the processes, the profit. Because oftentimes, we think about how change is going to improve a program, and it's gonna streamline the process, and it's going to increase profit. And all of those things can be true, and it could still have a negative impact on the people. Too much change Can create an unhealthy culture because there is all that chaos and your team never really feels settled or able to measure what's working or able to really get a feel or get their arms around a system or a process before it changes again. So I want you to think about your people when you wanna change something and make sure you're not creating too much chaos, giving them whiplash, or creating this change fatigue in your business. K? The 2nd category is for those of you who want to keep things the same. Maybe This is for a couple of reasons.

Maybe you like routine and structure and systems, and you just wanna figure it out and keep it that way. Maybe you think there's a point where you're going to, quote unquote, arrive and be successful and never have to change anything again. You can just Put your business on cruise control and just keep it running. Maybe you just really dislike and resist change, but this leads to a lack of innovation, too little change, or change that is far too slow. I want you to think about a company like Kodak or Blockbuster who didn't Move fast enough. Didn't innovate fast enough. And that really ironic thing about Kodak is they actually developed the 1st digital camera, But they were more afraid of what that would do to move forward and implement it, so they didn't End up pushing that technology, they resisted that innovation, and then others out innovated them, if you will. People often resist change, but change isn't bad.

You may fear what change will mean once you get comfortable, but Steve Jobs says innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity, not a threat. Your mindset has to shift around this. If this is you, if you like to get things settled and leave them be, and you're gonna have to shift your mindset to make sure that you don't get too complacent and cost your business, the potential that's there for your business in the future. And for your team, if it's more your team that really resists change, You have to create the psychological safety for the team to know that change is good and that there isn't something for them to be concerned about, Right? That everything is going to be okay. So those are those first 2 categories. Either you like change so much and you create tons of it, or you dislike change and you resist it. So there's either too much change too fast or too little change and too slow. And neither of those extremes are where I want you to be in your business.

I want you to focus on this 3rd category, and that is controlled innovation, and it can also be referred to as controlled chaos because it's right in this middle place. It's okay if there's a little chaos when there's change if it's controlled. Right? So we want this season of controlled innovation. This is really the Goldilocks of change. And as far as the timing of this, it's so important that you change before you have too. And that's because if you wait until you have to, then 1 of 2 things is true. Either you feel like you have to, but it's Going to be rushed and create that chaos, that quick change, too much change too fast, or you waited so long that it's beyond the point of having to and you're really trying to play catch up, but you are too slow. And now you're behind your industry as far as innovating.

Most people wait until they have to change. Most people wait until the success in their business is dependent on them changing. They wait until they feel the pain and are forced to make a change. To give an example of this, many of you wait So late to hire, you wait until you feel that pain of working overtime, of never being able to get everything done, and then you start the process of hiring. And it gets worse before it gets better because the hiring process adds more to your workload. The onboarding and training process adds more to your workload versus anticipating the change that needs to happen and starting to scale, starting to make the changes to scale before it's too late and before you're at the point where you have no other choice. So what does controlled innovation look like? It looks like, again, anticipating what needs to happen, which means, as the CEO of your company, you need to be looking ahead, you need to be vision casting, You need to be thinking beyond where you are now, and then you need to work through these 4 phases of controlled innovation. First, it's all about exploration, really starting to figure out what is even possible, exploring different solutions, exploring where you wanna take the business, then experimentation before you implement anything Across the board, these sweeping mass changes starting to validate whether something's going to work by experimenting, then once you validated it, moving into the phase of development to actually roll it out, and then full integration as the final step.

So developing everything first and then integrating it across the board to where it's adopted business wide. And all of that should happen before you have to. If you want to scale your business, you need to start to anticipate the change that's needed. Change is inevitable, but you don't want so much change that there's chaos and change fatigue. You don't want too little change that there's no innovation. You want that controlled innovation, which means changing intentionally and changing before you have to.

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