Advisory Board Forum: You Need Change to Make a Dollar

There is no doubt it is politically correct and generally accepted as intelligent to claim you are comfortable with change. If you really want to be perceived as being progressive, you can boast you embrace and even love change, but the simple fact is the vast majority of humans do not like change one bit.

Humans prefer to stay in their comfort zone, processing the same data in the same or similar fashion, producing the same or similar results. How many times have we all heard, “Do not fix what is not broken”? The problem with staying in your comfort zone and failing to fix what is perceived as unbroken does not take into consideration the fact everything around you is changing rapidly.

Be honest with yourself, are you of the mindset that it’s just easier to keep doing the same things in the same way just like you always have? Many companies have similar “do not fix what is not broken” mentalities and the results are often ugly. What happened to Sears? How about Kmart? I guess management figured and Wal-Mart would not impact them enough to motivate the required change in their organizations. Everything was going great, so why tinker with what works?

Closer to home, have you evaluated the rapid-fire change in the physical security space? Our industry is experiencing nonstop acquisitions, senior level management shake-ups and general restructuring among most of the major players. It would be beyond naïve for you to think these changes made by our industry’s most influential providers of products and services will not impact you, your existing relationships with your customers, and your bottom line.

Tyco, UTC, Schneider Electric, Securitas, Niscayah, Stanley, Siemens and others all understand that change is painful, yet they are all implementing the changes they feel are necessary to thrive going forward. These large companies employ professional strategists and analysts who understand they must push the envelope, question their current strategy, plan for tomorrow, and not dwell on how great or awful they were last year.

Past achievements may be pleasant memories and past failures may cause heartburn, but remember they are the past. Your job is not to celebrate or curse the past; your job is all about succeeding in the future. So what can you do to make sure you and your company do not fall into the “I am too comfortable to change” category?

  1. Commit to a review of your personal day to day activity. Are you on autopilot? Can a restructuring of how you approach your responsibilities make you more productive?
  2. If you are in a position of authority at your company, I suggest you run the same autopilot question for each of your departments.
  3. Study your change options. Change for the sake of change makes no sense. Make sure your change plan is logical, well thought out, and that you have adequate input from your peers, subordinates and senior management team.
  4. Do something! If you are conservative by nature you can stick one toe in at a time, but by all means do something, make something positive happen!
  5. Lead by example. Do not ask anyone to do what you will not do or have not already done on a comparative basis.

Staying in your comfort zone is not an option unless you are very close to retirement; in which case you may possibly survive without accepting HD surveillance, IP everything, hosted video, managed access and your younger employees’ tattoos and nose rings. If you are not ready for retirement you had better get your arms around fixing what you may perceive not to be broken.

Bill Bozeman, CPP, is President and CEO of Westminster, Colo.-based PSA Security Network.



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