Change is a constant
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said: “the only thing that is constant is change.” Change is a part of life and whether you like it or not, change is happening. Think back on the amount of change that you experienced in just the last year, month, and even within the past week. Change can be overwhelming.
When we look at the financial services industry, change is happening at a rapid rate. The impact of the tax laws, the ever-increasing competition for dollars, technology, and the perspective that millennials bring, are just a few of the changes that require financial professionals to increase their change agility muscle.
George Bernard Shaw said, “progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Change can be difficult, but it is critical if financial professionals want to increase their efficiency, resulting in more time to spend with their clients.
Financial professionals should also become comfortable with change as it supports their professional development. Research shows that when financial professionals devote time for development, it helps to build their confidence and credibility and reenergizes their creativity from acquired new skills.
Barriers to change
Most people want to change some facet of their lives, whether personal or professional, but barriers such as fear, biases and assumptions, and comfortability can complicate change. For example, a financial professional who is comfortable with their current book of business and fails to reach out to millennial consumers could lose sight of the $30 trillion in wealth transfer that will occur in the next 30 years.
What changes do you want to make in your business? Change requires going outside of your comfort zone and doing something different. As previously mentioned, while most people want to change, the challenge is in knowing how to change. In other words, it is a knowing/doing gap.
The Change Model
John Norcross, author of Changeology, addresses a five-step model for making change:
- Step 1: Contemplation – Get ready for change.
This step is about harnessing the awareness and emotions that will propel you into action.
- Step 2: Preparation – Plan before leaping.
This step entails picking a start date and identifying people who will help you to change.
- Step 3: Action – Take action in your practice.
Building new behaviors and encouraging your support team to keep moving forward are take action behaviors.
- Step 4: Persevere – Managing slips.
Learning to say no, continuing maintenance, and developing a plan for getting back on track after a slip are vital to perseverance in change.
- Step 5: Persist – Maintaining change.
This step is about sustaining change over the long haul.
In addition to using this model, you can begin by asking yourself these questions:
- What are the benefits of completing this change successfully?
- What steps will you take to achieve your goal?
- What does success look like?
- How will your business be different in six months? One year?
- What roadblocks do you anticipate?
- How will you celebrate the change?
Taking charge of change is all about taking action. It’s not enough to want to change. Change will happen only when you choose to change. What changes will you choose to make today?