Staged change rather than instant change

https://karenlreyburn.com/staged-change-not-instant-change/

Change takes adjustment: for you and for others. Whether it’s helping the team change the way you do things at the firm, or sharing systems or price changes with clients, or scaling your business: trying to make the change instantly will likely be tough. 

Instant change shocks you and surprises you. And you don’t know what to do with it, so you can default to fear. Or confusion. Or reverting to the way you did things before. 

One of my coaching clients is working on changing his approach with both clients and team. “Up til now I’ve been very me and company centric,” he told me. “And it’s time for that to change.” 

He read the Accountant Marketer and is now working through each of the sections with me so he can apply them to his firm. But even slight changes like asking new prospects, “So, what motivated you to start this business?” is an adjustment. It’s always been accounting, bookkeeping, numbers focused. Nothing about motivations or emotions. 

But we make changes because we want some kind of change to happen. This firm owner wants to get more of the kind of clients he loves working with: and that means opening up with prospects. Asking deeper questions. Listening. 

This change will have an impact on the firm’s numbers. On their operations. On the conversations they have as a team. 

Another change he’s considering is beginning to get his team members share questions clients are asking, to build a library of content answering these questions. The “they ask you answer” approach some of you are already long familiar with. But remember the early days when you started this, and it was new and different? Remember how long it took to make it a habit? 

As we talked about how to involve the team in something brand-new for them, he considered the impact of making very tiny changes rather than dramatic ones. 

Instead of suddenly holding a two-hour session gathering all the client questions and asking team members to write blog posts, he’s simply going to use five minutes of the next team meeting to introduce the concept and ask for one or two questions that a client has asked that week. 

Then in the next team meet he’ll do it again. Then in the next, and the next, and the next. 

He’s doing the same with the kind of conversations he has with clients. We talked about sending out emails to existing clients to offer a conversation about strategy and big picture and motivations, but after testing it with a few clients, he got no takers. They’re not used to this. It’s too big, too dramatic. So instead he will adjust gradually, in stages. In the next client meet, ask one small question. How were things in the business this week? Anything which is particularly tough for you right now? Something to start that level of conversation going. They may not answer it. They may not feel comfortable with that: and that’s okay. But the very tiny changes will be easier to accept than something dramatic. 

Instead of going 0 to 100, can you stage it? 20-80, then 50-50, then 80-20…and then when you’re ready, 100-0. 

What big change would you love to make? Is there a very tiny change you can start with which leads towards it? 

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ON THE GRAM

I’m not actually bummed about the grey weather we’re having. Here’s why.

I went for a walk in the MORNING today, which felt like i’m winning at life. 🏆 

Lately I’ve been fitting in my daily walk at 9 or 10pm after a long day of meetings. I’m super grateful for the way it’s still light so late at night, but a walk-at-end-of-day doesn’t have the same motivational kick as the walk-at-the-start. 🌑 

So that one little thing I did puts me at champion status, and affects my entire mindset for the day. 💪 

There are a lot of contributing factors to this morning’s walk, but the top one was that it was grey, cool, and windy...which is far more motivational to me than bright sunshine. 🌬 

I know, it’s weird.

The rest of britain is like UGH WHAT A SHIT SUMMER and i’m here going um...i really, really love the rain. And clouds. And cool breezes. And grey skies. ☔ 

I’ll join in the conversation and be like yea, yea, it really does suck...but that’s just to start conversation and show British solidarity. Deep down I don’t think it does suck. 👀 

I do like sunshine, but after spending 25 years of my life in Arizona, I don’t love or crave the heat. ☀ 

Anything over about 20 degrees and i start getting a bit antsy...and my limit is “23 with a breeze”. 😎 

If it’s higher than that I’ll literally hide inside, not rush out to sit in a beer garden or at the beach. I really don’t enjoy heat at all. 

So thanks grey skies and wind, you helped a lot today. 💪 

Just me? Everyone else dreaming of 30+ degrees and sunshine?? It’s okay if you are...i just...don’t get it. 🤣 

#justkeepgoing #walkoftheday #goodmorning #wegotthis #onestepatatime #motivation
Cancelling things is a superhero skill.

Not all the time, of course: we want to be trustworthy.

And the sheer stubbornness of being a business owner is good.

I can do it. I will do it. No matter what! I can make. this. work.

A product, an event, a new hire, a business.

So we keep pushing. Show up, send the emails, make the phone call, record the videos. More training for the new hire, more new hires. Make sure we never let anyone down.

Of course, things happen. We get sick, something happens to a family member, or there’s an emergency and we need to shift things around.

But cancelling things can be a superhero skill: when you do it well, knowing why it’s time to cut the cord and communicating it well.

Here’s some of what I consider when I’m trying to decide if it’s time to dig in, or stop & go another direction:

1. Does anyone even know about it?
Sometimes it’s been a big part of your business life and used a lot of brainpower, but no one outwith you and your team know it was meant to happen.

2. What’s the cost of not doing this now?
The full cost, more than financial, including:
- Motivational cost for you, team, clients
- Decreased trust for clients
- Loss of strategic partnership connection

3. Could you replace it with something else?
Another day, an online option, a template instead of custom build? Sometimes a replacement isn’t a cancellation at all. You’re doing it, but in a less costly way.

4. Do I have the energy and appetite to keep going?
I can do it with an automaton approach…but given the other things on my plate, where do I want my energy to go? How much do I have to give? Will it renew energy, or drain it?

I ended up cancelling a small event recently, & whilst I was disappointed, it was the right decision for these reasons.

It can feel embarrassing...but cancelling something can be a superpower, if it’s done well & communicated clearly and honestly. And when it’s more the exception than the rule.

Anything you are considering stopping? What impact might that have?

✨This is from this week’s Creative Headspace note. They go out every Friday - except for the rare occasions I skip a week for my own sanity. 😄 Sign up in bio!💌