Recently, I undertook one of life’s big-ticket items, moving house. Like a lot of these big things in life, there is a mix of excitement and angst. Moving house brings up the questions of: where, what, when, costs and so on. When big life changes are in our control, they start with a sense of excitement and if we are lucky; the excitement gets through a lot of that change. To find my new home, I spent weeks (actually months, but ssshhh) searching for something that would suit both my personal and professional lifestyles, and feel like an upgrade.
Like you would, the first thing I did once my thoughts turned into actions was to jump on to realestate.com.au and start looking. Searching, tagging and creating a list of potential options then narrowing the list down to something manageable. With a manageable list, the real decision making can start. After inspecting too many places that were totally unsuitable or completely distorted by the fishbowl lenses that real estate agents are addicted to, I finally had two suitable options. It’s funny how the narrowing of the list is a rational exercise, but from then on, the final decision often switches from rational to emotional. Finally, the selection was made and the excitement, and the panic, kicks in.
A new chapter, a new adventure is about to start. I look around my place and think “f%ck”... why do I have so much crap? And so… The packing starts. It never ends because you need to keep the pair of hideous cream colour vases that belonged to your great aunt Mable, because if you don’t your mother will have something to say about it. Nor, can you ever throw out any books, ever. Why? Because books make us all look more intelligent (accept it, it’s true.. We all do it).
About two third's through this process the element of regret starts. I start thinking, or even saying… When will this ever end?! Was this really such a good idea? Did I really need to move? We know that the answer to both questions is yes, which is both reassuring, and annoying. Thankfully, I got a good moving company that helped with packing, moving and unpacking. While they can’t do everything, they can do the bulk of the heavy lifting for you (literally and metaphorically). Eventually everything gets packed up, moved and unpacked and the journey into a brand new chapter begins. Apart from the two boxes that are compulsory to leave unpacked for about six months.
This experience got me thinking that big personal changes are a personal journey as much as they are a logistical exercise. The idea starts, formless and ethereal. After some time it turns into something that we can process, something we can see, something that we can weigh up the pros and cons about. (Often this is where the yellow legal pad comes out). If the ‘pros’ outweigh the cons’ we then convert thoughts into actions.
These big changes also translate into our professional lives. We, small business owners have to keep our own house (business) in order for it to work well, and from time to time bigger things come along that prompt us to make logistical decisions. Often these big decisions are prompted by one of two reasons. We've been doing OK and we decide to make a proactive decision, or we are forced to make a reactive decision. Whether by threat or by desire, these big decisions have to be made and being proactive about these changes minimises our own personal stress and anxiety. It becomes more about what feels right and what you connect with than the price of how shiny something is. We have all been guilty of buying the new idea, only to watch it become our latest dust collector.
All the above parallels with the journey of internal business renovation. A situation arises that requires a decision. An investigation takes place, searching what, who and how. Make those second-level decisions, then…hopefully, implement and reap the rewards of our transition hard work.
Business renovation is tough and challenging because the business has to keep going. Like moving or renovating your house, you still need somewhere to live, so getting the right help makes a big difference. Planning relieves a lot of stress as you know what to expect. Even if you don’t like some steps, we remember that transition is a short term and not let it get to us. We remind ourselves, this process will be disruptive, that’s the whole point in some respect. Old practices, habits and ways of doing things no longer sustain our lifestyle, business or personal. We work out what we need to do, and do it… and, that we take those around us on that journey of change as well.
Businesses are people working in a team toward specific goals. The pursuit of those goals have different requirements at different times and reviewing them is good practice. However, we need to remind ourselves that businesses aren’t an actual tangible thing; they are a community of people. People / human beings make up businesses, not roles or labels or titles. Humans make up homes too, not houses. Some people love change, some people hate it and most of us are somewhere in the middle. However, if we plan our change, it’s less daunting and becomes more of a journey that everyone can be part of, knowingly and with confidence.
Whether you are moving home or renovating a business, there will be stressors, there will be change. Understanding that change is a process that takes time and is short-term disruptive. However, getting the right people to help makes that change successful. Remembering it’s about people first, makes all the difference.
Clarity Street was conceived from years of engaging with Accounting firms on a daily basis and a constant desire to make Accounting firms & SME’s more efficient and profitable.