Change – do you know when it is time to let go?
I sit here writing this article using a pair of reading glasses that are 9 years old. True, I had a new set of lenses put in when it fell to the ground a couple of years back, but the frame has been what it was for these 9 years.
Which got me thinking – am I person who doesn’t like change? Let’s take stock: I have been living in my apartment for 19 years now; been driving my car for 9. (Gee! Lots of 9’s!) When I look at my career, each new position lasts at least 5 years! Am I a person who likes change? It doesn’t seem like it.
Obviously there is something good about being the same – the reliability that it will still be there in time to come; yet there is also a sense that one gets “old” very quickly. After all, when was the last time I did something for the first time? Can’t quite remember.
When one gets old in his business, growth seldom occurs. It is run on a constant stream of loyal customers. Yet, loyal customers don’t remain loyal forever. Once your main point of contact leaves the company, you would have to build the relationship all over again; and most of the time, you will lose to the newer players – newer in the way they think, newer in the way they provide their service, newer in the way they run their business.
Business model renewal is very important; and if you have been doing business the same way as you had over the past 10 years, you may well be headed to the fossilized department. Instead, change up your delivery systems, your monetization model, your product bundle. Because if you don’t, you will find yourself surrounded by newbies hungry for your business – and very often grabbing it.
I leave you with one story. I had been serving a university off and on for the last 6 years. This year, a new director took over and asked to revisit my program proposal. Ultimately, he asked if I could come down on my price. He told me that he has proposals from other service providers who could do it cheaper; and that there was no unique value proposition in mine that would put me ahead in the pricing game. As incumbent, he gave me the right of first refusal. I took a day to reflect and decided not to go for it. I cannot be seen to “sell out” on my program. But what does that do for me? My inability to change has caused me to lose out on business and if I continue down this road, my whole reason for being will have upped and left me. It is a defining point in my business – change or be sidelined. After 10 years running this business, there is a need for renewal.
Change is not easy because you have to question your part in the stasis. You have to come face to face with your imperfections. You will have to accept that the world no longer revolves around you; you are no longer The Special One. Quite humbling, isn’t it? Change is certainly hard.
What do you think?