Have you ever had a brilliant idea for your firm that crashed and burned because the rest of the team just wasn't "on board" with your genius? (and we KNOW that you ARE a genius… yeah… I see you innovating over there.)
Everyone knows that without change, businesses stagnate, profitability suffers, efficiency wanes, and in serious enough situations, companies can collapse due to obsolescence & irrelevance.
So why do employees and even business owners refuse to adapt and make changes that will allow them to thrive?
Why do we resist change?
While fear of the unknown is undoubtedly a factor, other equally important elements inhibit change:
- Some firms simply have a culture that resists change, and the owners may not even know it.
Has anyone ever met our old friend SALY ("Same as Last Year")? Believe it or not, this common convention is just one of many pebbles thrown into the river of change. By itself, it's not holding back the flow, but when you add it to other cultural norms, such as "This is the way it has always been.", "This is how I was taught.", "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.", "That's not how we do it here.", and all those other cultural staples we have ALL heard before… you have more and more pebbles. That, my friends, is the culture of the firm seeping through and blocking innovation and change. Is your culture holding you back?
- What about a lack of awareness of a need for change?
If you aren't attending conferences, doing software demos, talking with your peers, or taking any action to learn about best practices, how will you even know if there's an opportunity to be better? For example… I know plenty of firm owners who don't look at their practice management software every few years to see if a better system exists. If I, personally, didn't make the time to test out Canopy with a demo, my firm would have missed out on the opportunity to save thousands of dollars each year, gain more features and functionality, and enhance overall efficiency across my remote team. I don't know about you, but they had me at "thousands of dollars."
- How do you even know if a change is worth the risk?
Ahhhhh yes…ROI. I'm a HUGE fan of assessing the ROI of things. In fact, because my firm, SMD Consulting & Accounting, LLC, revolves entirely around providing advisory services instead of compliance work, I'm constantly reminding clients that the amount of time and money we save them, the reduced audit risk, the asset protection, the peace of mind of knowing they aren't screwing things up, and even the growth of their businesses are why they are paying us. The gains they experience from working with us far exceed the cost of our services. Return on Investment, baby!
Please note that my example includes more than the tax savings. It includes items that are hard to quantify, like asset protection and peace of mind. When you analyze a change's ROI, I want you to think beyond the dollars and time. I want you to consider how you will be better overall. It's awesome when a piece of software saves you time and money. We want that. However, what's the value of making it easier for clients to work with you? What if it speeds up the collection of your A/R? What if it runs more efficiently? What if it allows your team to work remotely without sacrificing productivity? What if it just looks cool? What if it's software used by your competition, and it allows you to attract new employees because they don't have to learn a new tool? What other ways will it help you be and feel better?
Take the time to explore all the Pros and Cons, and you'll know if it's worth the risk.
Lack of time to try new things, lack of desire to learn, or even distrust of innovations are common reasons people resist change.
The thing is, there's no ONE reason for it.
As firm owners, we must make an effort to continue to innovate regardless of the resistance we face.
However, I DID already say you are a genius, so you already knew all this, right?
We need to get others to be geniuses like you. Look for the second part of this blog for tips on how to make that happen.
Sean M Duncan, CPA, is the President and Founder of SMD Consulting & Accounting, LLC, Chief Proactive Advisors, LLC, and Helping Hand RIA, LLC. SMD Consulting & Accounting, LLC has gained national recognition as an advisory-focused CPA firm specializing in fixed-fee project and subscription services to help business owners and individuals with tax reduction, asset protection, wealth accumulation, and success on their terms. As the "Chief Proactive Advisor," Sean leverages his experiences from creating an advisory firm and helps fellow professionals transition from a reactive to a proactive approach. His methodology accelerates the building of more lucrative and fulfilling advisory practices. His 6-step transformative framework was developed over his 25+ years in the profession.READ MORE BY Sean