Yesterday I sat in a really interesting presentation; you know where you find yourself leaning forward and sitting on the front of your seat? Well, this was one of those. I was watching one of Australia’s leading agents of change in Real Estate address a team of property agents about the inevitable change facing their industry.
For me, it was a powerful glimpse into an industry I know well, both as a consultant and as a client. Everything Mark McLeod said to his audience resonated with me, because I’d heard a similar diatribe many times before in the boardrooms of the traditional media organisations I had worked with over the last 25 years. It was that familiar and awakening warning about how industry change was here, and I watched without surprise as the room was quietened by the stark reality that those who choose either to ignore or not embrace this change will face certain death in the years to come.
It is at this point that the room always divides – and I’ve seen it many times. The entrepreneurial types get excited and the traditional workers retreat. It’s as if you can see their body language change, a slight twitch of resentment or maybe even a tentative hope that the deliverer of this news might just be wrong.
There is nothing more exciting to me than news of a change afoot, as it almost always means the advent of a creative and dynamic new way of doing things, and figuring out how to do it. Why does this excite me? Because that’s what I love; coming up with new and innovative ways of doing things. But I fully acknowledge and have seen first hand the look of fear and even panic on other peoples’ faces when they realise the status quo is dead.
So for those who don’t love it, here is my top 5 Checklist for Embracing Industry Change, from someone who has always enjoyed the exciting challenge of just that:
- Accept it – the first and most important part of coping with change is accepting that it’s inevitable. Remember you are not the only one feeling trepidation and importantly that you are simply part of a journey that everyone is going through; it’s not just you.
- Google it – spend some time on Google exploring your industry’s change. You might be surprised at the number of global blogs and case studies that are readily available on the web to put your mind at ease and provide you with inspiration on others who have already coped with the same change. Just be sure to select credible, professional, reputable sources that you can trust.
- Identify it – write down the top 3 things that worry you about the change, and stick the list somewhere you can see it everyday. One by one think about ways you can alleviate that worry and cross it off once you have. Let’s face it, your worst fear is actually that you don’t want to change, but once you have accepted the fact (see point #1) then you’ll quickly see that every one thing you are worried about has a solution.
- Verbalise it – often fear of change comes from a lack of confidence in one area; be it technology, strategy, or other where you feel incompetent. So simply ask for help. Sign up for training, find a mentor, or phone a friend. Once you put your fear out there you will almost always find the help you need, but unless you ask, nobody knows you need help.
- Embrace it – once you’ve unleashed the fear, equipped yourself with strategies and learnings for managing change, the world is your oyster. Everybody can cope with change; no matter how long you have been doing something.
A bit of industry change might be just what you need to re-invigorate your career, and get that professional spring back into your step. Just try it! I dare you!