Innovation Extremism: Overcoming Resistance to BIG Change
In the past I have tended to not write a great deal about innovation. It has certainly not been a conscious avoidance strategy on my part. I just haven't continually promoted innovation as a topic with gusto. Why? Well, I think it is largely due to the content focus of the mimosaPLANET Small Business Blog. A focus of help with implementing strategies and tactics for improved business results (more help for the average small business owner than advice for the 1 in 100,000,000 entrepreneur who will change the world). But, innovation and change are important and today I want to talk about making innovative ideas and vision come to life. I want to talk about making BIG CHANGE happen in your small business and specifically how to overcome those resisting change. Because with BIG change you can yield BIG increases in customer satisfaction and with it, BIG improvements in your results.
[Today’s Image: The Museum of Sex, New York City, NY – May 2011] - "When the Museum of Sex first emerged on New York City’s Fifth Avenue on October 5, 2002, it was without precedent in the museum world." - museumofsex.com
The Resistance to Change
With BIG change often comes BIG resistance. You know what I mean, right? Perhaps you have a small team of five, ten or fifteen people. Now, naturally as a business owner and entrepreneur you have dreams and vision. But all it takes is one person in the team (just one, but if you have more than one that sucks even more!) to derail your efforts. One person with 'resistance to change' as their default mindset, and therefore outward behaviour, will make it a hard hard grid to innovating and breaking the current mold in your business.
So, we need to overcome the behaviour of these peeps! It’s not that these people are “bad” people, it’s just that their standard personality type is that of a “Stable” person that is likely to be risk adverse and just really not into change. They like the routine. Now, ‘stable’ people can be a great asset to the business, but just sometimes they can drive you insane! So, what can be done…
The Concept of Extremes
I have two innovators and business people I admire to thank for this solution to the resistance movement in your business. Maybe it works for you and maybe it doesn’t, but I think it’s an approach that just plain old makes sense to me! I think it is far better than a small business owner dwelling in self-pity and blame about the situation and 'the damn resistor' making their life a pain in the butt! Get over it, and change your approach to change their approach! That's all you can do, if they don't change then they'll get so uncomfortable in the environment you create they'll feel like the rotten apple and move on.
Gary Vaynerchuk has an approach to getting his message across (see his books Crush It and The Thank You Economy) he openly admits to dealing in extremes and absolutes to hammer the point home. Why? “If I give you an inch…” that kind of sums it up nicely for me.
A gentle discussion about the pros and cons of trying to do things in this new way, or about why the BIG change is needed, can be ineffective. They are all givens anyway, these conversions just happen (with and without you)…. But it is YOU, the Leader, it’s your ability (or not) to enroll and inspire the team behind your absolute believe and unwavering conviction behind the idea of big change and innovation in your business to drive your business to be the best [insert whatever you do] in [insert your target area/niche].
Tom Peters raises the idea of the “Parallel Universe” in his notes on Innovation in his book The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence. He basically states that if you what to cause change and innovation you have to give up a normal approach and create a ‘new-world’ with new people and a new attitude, etc…. basically a parallel universe! This is Cool!
This point is so in line with some part of my brain when I came up with the name of mimosaPLANET years ago. My thought pattern was; the company needed something to represent change and adaptability and that is where I came across the Mimosa tree which is highly adaptable to the environment. Touch it, or give it a slap, and it will change within seconds the shape of the leaves, it adapts to the conditions and environment instantly. That’s pretty cool, and a great representation of what small business owners that want to not only survive but thrive must do in today’s world. Be adaptable and willing to change or go out of business and die is what I thought!
I also added the world ‘planet’ to represent both; i) the size and scale of my vision (I don’t want to just convince 3 or 4 people that being adaptable and willing to change quickly is a smart business decision, I want all small business owners to subscribe to it), and ii) the oddity, weirdness and separation of what we will be building with people. We’re building a group of business people with a separate thought process, a damn separate planet of business owners that ‘get it’…. The more the merrier, population of “mimosaPLANET” day one…. Me! Population 2020…. well, who knows where we are going with the recent introduction of mimosaPLANET membership?
Are you in need of some Innovation Extremism?
- BE relentless in your pursuit of your beliefs and vision
- CREATE a parallel universe
- BE an Extremist