How to overcome the fear of change
Three hurdles are holding you back from creating the business you want. Here's how to overcome them...
“Change isn’t easy. So, congratulations on taking the first steps. On gathering your team around the table and working on the future of your business.”
In this episode, I share three hurdles you need to cross to overcome the fear of change in your business:
- Outcome Pain
“View the process of change as a game, something to overcome as a team, a challenge that can help you all grow, a time to master something new.”
- “It’s easy to get stuck where you are right now because your scared of how things might look on the other side of the fence. Don’t, instead, focus on the joy of the change, on the power of going through the change, on the good and the satisfaction of going through the change process.”
To learn more about The Great Game of Business, here is a link to Jack Stack’s book: The Great Game of Business
[The following is the transcript of this video. Please note that this episode, like all posts, features Jean speaking unscripted and unedited — filmed in one take. The actual video may differ in content from the script. But you’ll still get loads of value!]
Hey, my friend, it’s Jean Moncrieff. And in this episode, I want to talk to you about overcoming the fear of change.
We’re fast approaching the end of the year, and it’s not just the end of the year, it’s the end of the decade. And I imagine you and your team are huddled around a table somewhere reflecting on the past, looking at what you’ve achieved, and thinking about where you’re going in this new decade, where you’re going in the future — your vision for your business, what your goals are — and you’re thinking about what’s got to change in your business to get you to the next level, to help you achieve the growth that you’re thinking about achieving.
Change isn’t easy. So, congratulations on taking the first steps. On gathering your team around the table and working on the future of your business.
You know, I’m very fortunate I get to spend time with entrepreneurs like you, and that I have the opportunity to sit in on your planning sessions. Recently, I was in a session where the team was going over their plan for the year ahead. Their goal: to go from 5% growth to 30% growth. And there was a lot of excitement — at least initially.
But along the way, I could sense apprehension and fear creep into the room. Questions like: ‘Can we really make this happen?’ and ‘We’ve tried in the past, what makes this time different.’ And people started clinging to parts of the old model for security.
Doing some reflection on the train ride home, I thought about what my mentors and coaches, Judy and Brendon Burchard — and if you’re watching, Judy, Brendon, a shout out to you both for everything you’ve done for me!
Brendon talks about first-timer fear and the hurdles that you have to overcome to make a change. And I thought to myself, a lot of this applies to leadership teams as well. It’s not just something we need to overcome as individuals. No, leadership teams as a whole go through the same thing.
So, as you’re setting your goals, as you’re thinking about where you want to go next year, be conscious that apprehension and fear will creep in and undercut the hard work you and your team are doing.
You know it is happening when someone says: ‘Well, we want to go there, but why don’t we cling onto this and why don’t we cling onto that? Let’s not change that part of the business. But let’s keep this the same.’ Or ‘Let’s introduce a subscription model and see how it goes. We can A/B test the two different models on clients.’
That’s kind of approach is not going to take you from where you are now to where you want to go. That’s not going to take you from a 5% growth rate to a 30% plus growth rate.
So today I want to tell you about the three hurdles you need to cross to overcome the fear of changing the way you’re doing business — of going from a traditional model to a new way of doing business, like introducing a subscription model.
The first hurdle is loss pain, and it’s all about security. The fear that in making a change, you might lose what you have already. You might lose the security of what you have already. And instead of focusing on what you stand to gain, you end up obsessing over what you might lose.
The fearful mind kicks in and it says things like: Well, what if we lose customers in this process? What if some of our staff leave? What if we don’t make the 5%? What if we lose money?
You start obsessing over the fear of losing the security that you have. When what you should be fearing, if you’re not growing at 5%, or you’re not growing at all, is: not doing anything.
So I encourage you to start focusing on what you stand to gain. Acknowledge that there may be things that you’re going to lose, acknowledge the risk associated with what you’re doing. But then say: ‘Yeah, but over here, if we do this, then we’ll see 6 million in revenue from a subscription model; within 18 months we can get the business to that point; if we embrace a subscription model, we’ll see the 30% growth that we want.
If you are less obsessed with the pain of loss and more focused on what you stand to gain, you’re over the loss pain hurdle already.
The next hurdle you need to get over is process pain. I know, changing anything is hard, let alone what you stand to lose.
I was terrified of going through the process of change when I went from running a company of 250 people to going it alone. But I had a vision: to help entrepreneurs like you to grow your business and create something valuable.
I’d never done it all alone and I felt like I was lacking certain things, that perhaps I wasn’t competent in certain areas. And I knew that I’d have to work on those things. I didn’t have a sales team, I didn’t have a marketing team anymore. It was just me. And I had to go through the process of building a whole new business from the ground up. But I had a vision, I had goals, and I was willing to work 24/7 for the next three years to get to where I wanted to go.
Along the way, I learnt that going through the process of change can be something joyous, a place where I could learn new things and that by focusing on what I stood to gain, I could overcome the process pain.
Try thinking of change, and the process of going through change, as a game. Jack Stack wrote the book — and I’ll put that into the show notes — wrote the book “The Great Game of Business.” Jack took a company from the brink of disaster to a thriving business by introducing the games into the business — games that made business fun and challenged his people to do their best and come up with solutions to their challenges. Together, they went from having the bank on the line every week for interest payments to creating a profitable business where all employees have some form of ownership.
View the process of change as a game, something to overcome as a team, a challenge that can help you all grow, a time to master something new.
Change can help you to build better leadership teams, better organizational structures, a better business. And make the processes engage the process as engaging as possible for everyone.
Use a battle board to map out the steps you and your team will take every month to ensure change happens. Put your battle board up where everyone can see so you can show staff and customers what you’re going through – in January we’ll be doing this; this is the change we’re effecting in February, this is the change we’re effecting in March, April, May, June, July, all the way through to the end of next year. These are the steps we are taking each month to change the business — breathe a whole new life into the business.
So instead of focusing on the pain of going through changing the way your organization operates: changing the way your sales process operates or the fear of changing the way that you sell things, focus on the positive gains on change. Focus on what you might learn and on what the outcome is going to be.
Now let’s talk about outcome pain. The third hurdle you’ll need to overcome is something called outcome pain. It’s really the fear that perhaps the grass isn’t greener on the other side.
What if we do all this work, and at the end of the day, we don’t see the 30% revenue? Or we’re worse off than when we started? Or we’ve lost a whole lot of clients? — and it’s really about what if the outcome is not what we planned for?
I was terrified of this as well. I was basically going from running a business to working with and coaching executives and executive teams. One of my biggest fears was that once all is said and done, would I hate what I’m doing? If I go through all of this pain and get to the other side of the fence, would I be happy? And, what if I hated what I built? What if my lifestyle was not the same? What if I don’t make the money that I wanted to make?
It’s easy to get stuck where you are right now because your scared of how things might look on the other side of the fence. Don’t, instead, focus on the joy of the change, on the power of going through the change, on the good and the satisfaction of going through the change process.
For instance, if we take the subscription model again, and think about what things look like on the other side of the fence with the new model. Will the grass be greener? Sure it will! Just think about what a subscription model can bring to your business. Start to focus on the gains, on the potential growth associated with a subscription model, and what that can bring your business. Focus on the stability that a subscription business model brings. Focus on the predictability a subscription business model brings. Focus on the stream of income that’s coming, that’s throwing off profit into the future, and knowing that your business is becoming more valuable with every passing day. Focus on the positive side of what might be on the other side of the fence.
When you think about it, it’s like pruning an apple tree. Maybe you need to cut certain products. Maybe there are people that will go. Maybe you will lose some customers. But those changes will give your business the room to grow, the same way an apple tree does when you prune it.
So make sure you and your team aren’t obsessing over loss pain, over process pain, over outcome pain. Start thinking about all of the positive things.
For more insights into growing a business that can thrive without you, check out:
- Taking action is power
- Pivoting Your Business Means Leaning In (Even If Things Get Scrappy)
- Why there's never been a better time to turn your business into a valuable asset
- My entrepreneurial story: Lessons from my business exits
- The 10 Best Business Exit Books
And don't miss the behind-the-scenes secrets on growing a valuable business I reveal each week in The Freedom Experience podcast.
Don't miss a beat!
Get the only emails anybody wants on creating a business that thrives without you, delivered to your inbox.
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.