Articles

Making Elephants Disappear.

A client of mine once described me as a man who makes elephants disappear. I think it was a compliment. What he meant was that in every change exercise there are bound to be issues and problems that raise their ugly heads. Big, angry elephants that stand between you and your goal. After all, when you are getting an organization to move away from something they have always done there are bound to be problems.

My job – and that of any change agent – is to see the elephant for what it is, size it up and find a way to make it disappear.

Einstein’s theory of insanity was “Doing the same thing time after time and expecting a different result each time”. You want to perform better, you’ve got to change what you are doing. You want to change, there are bound to be obstacles. It goes to the heart of “when the going gets tough….”

Positive energy and a strong competitive instinct are the fuel for successful change.

Ninety percent of the time the initiation for change comes from one person. It relies on the positive energy of less than a handful of people to push, seduce, cajole and do whatever is needed to move an organization – no matter how large or small. This is the essence of leadership. It may not be easy, but it’s often necessary.

And once the team begins to get it and support it, every ounce of energy used to get it started is paid back in the teamwork that not only makes the elephant disappear but rapidly achieves the goals you had set.

Retail businesses are linear beasts. They head down a track and get better and better at doing the same things. Thinking laterally and moving tracks is not an easy thing to do in retail. In truth it’s why people like me have a job. But there is a lot you can do for your business by stepping back and looking at whether it might be time for a change. If you need to perform better, something has got to give.

Don’t be afraid of the change process. Embrace it. Be positive and confident. It will need every ounce of your will and focus to achieve success.

But when you have a plan, you know your goal and you are convinced your team can achieve the outcome once they work together enthusiastically, the change process can be one of the biggest adrenaline rushes that retail can offer.

With the right attitude not only will you make your elephant disappear, you may just become the rouge bull elephant that gives your competitors nightmares.