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Sunday, 19 February 2017

It’s Groundhog Day – Again? Again? Again?

Strange how things never change or as the French say “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose”, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I saw a nice quotation recently which said:

“Children nowadays are tyrants, they contradict their parents, gobble their food and tyrannise their teachers”.

The Education Secretary?  The Shadow Education Secretary?  No, it was Socrates in 425 BCE.

Plus ca change etc.   So how is all this relevant to today and to business as we know it?

It seems to me that it all comes down to learning from our experience and on the face of it, we are not too successful.   Had we been, then recessions and financial crashes would be a thing of the past, we would have learnt about the futility of war, and most importantly, our lives would be far more ordered.

A previous mother-in-law of mine used to start her homily with “If you’ll take my advice, in my experience.......” which of course irritated the hell out of both my wife and me because we wanted to gain our own experience.  Perhaps it would be by trial and error but it was ours and not someone else’s.

We always say that we don’t learn from our successes, only from our failures and perhaps we need to assess consciously how we can put that into practice.  

It is all down to a reluctance to accept change, to accept that the status quo is the easiest alternative to presumed chaos, that the peaceful life is our main objective.

Change means that we go through a process of denial and denigration, of organised chaos and finally rebirth and regeneration.   The danger is always that we eventually subside back into the comfort zone where change is seen as a problem not an opportunity.

Implementation of any changes in the business needs to be done with that inherent reluctance in mind so that the benefits of any change are emphasised. Great communication is the answer and that together with as much transparency as can be given will deal with the fear factor.  Remember that communication as well as being two-way is also a short-term exercise so there needs to be constant repetition.

American presidential candidates in years past used to travel the country in a train and would stop to appear on the back of the carriage and make a stump speech.  This would normally be exactly the same wherever he stopped.

Nowadays it is translated as an elevator speech when telling people what our job is or what our business does in a few well-chosen words.

Prepare an elevator speech of no more than fifteen words or seven seconds that will encourage and energise the people and keep on saying it. 

Incidentally do you know how many Jewish mothers are needed to change a light bulb?  “Just the one but don’t worry about me darling, I don’t mid sitting in the dark, I know you’re busy”.

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