Change is hard. We know that. But it’s even harder when we hear nothing but excuses for why something can’t be done or why it shouldn’t change.
There’s a real irony to that statement because the excuses haven’t changed, either! I found this Fast Company article from 1993 that lists 50 Reasons Why We Cannot Change (also the title of the article). While the article is from 1993, the list was actually compiled in 1959!
Here are some of my favorites.
- We’ve never done it before.
- Nobody else has ever done it.
- We’ve been doing it this way for 25 years.
- It won’t work in a small company.
- It won’t work in a large company.
- Why change — it’s working OK.
- It can’t be done.
- We don’t have the money.
- We don’t have the personnel.
- It’s not my job.
- We don’t have the time.
- We’re not ready for it.
- It takes too long to pay out.
- We’re doing all right as it is.
What would you add to the 50 reasons? What excuses have you been hearing for more years than you care to remember?
I’ve written before that change is possible. (Yes, it’s hard work.) It’s a matter of choice. It’s about priorities. It requires understanding and focus. It requires leadership. It’s a mindset shift and a behavior shift. It means thinking (and then doing) differently. It’s short-term pain for long-term gains. But it is worth it.
Here are several posts that I’ve written about change that might be helpful as you navigate change within your organization.
- Change Vision: Getting Employees on Board with Your Transformation Journey
- CX Journey™ Musings: A Trojan Mouse and Your #CX Strategy
- 12 Principles of Successful #CEM Change Management
- 8 Steps for Customer Experience Change Management
- Avoiding Change Fatigue
- CX Complacency and the Lack of a Burning Platform
- Change Management Step #1: Sense of Urgency
- We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Change Management
- Tell Your Change Story
- Shift Happens – or Does It?
- A Culture of Excuses
- Leaders Need to Show, Not Just Say
Need to drive lasting change in your organization? Forget the excuses and remember these four critical components:
- Communicate the change, using a variety of vehicles and media. Share the change vision. Tell the change story. Let employees know what is changing, why it’s changing, how it will impact them and what they do (differently) on a daily basis, and how they will be involved. If no one knows what the change is or why it’s taking place, then they’ll ignore it; they certainly don’t want to be a part of it.
- Involve employees in the change process rather than forcing change on them. If they’re involved, the solutions may be richer because they have other perspectives and experiences that the decision-making leader may not have. Better yet, present them (spoke or unspoken, as was the case with Troy) with a problem or a situation, and let them come to the conclusion themselves. If they believe it was their own idea, it’ll stick; they’ll own it.
- It’s important that executives lead by example and model the change that they wish to see from their employees; if they don’t live the change, why should employees?! If your CEO doesn’t demonstrate commitment to the transformation by being the role model for how to deliver a great experience, it won’t happen. If she doesn’t live the core values, why should you? Actions always speak louder than words.
- Recognize the right behaviors and reinforce with incentives, promotions, metrics, and more. Reinforcing the behaviors, actions, and changes that you want to see is more powerful than talking about them, especially when combined with modeling them.
Yes, change is hard. But it’s not impossible. (That’s excuse #50.)
If you really want to do it, you do it. There are no excuses. -Bruce Nauman
Annette Franz, CCXP is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, speaker, and author. She recently published her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business); it’s available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. Sign up for our newsletter for updates, insights, and other great content that you can use to up your CX game.
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