Ignore change and you lose. Embrace change and your accountancy firm wins…
Leading and managing change is a critical skill for success in your firm.
However, if you continue to do what you’ve always done in your firm what happens?
Is it possible you continue to get the same results you’ve always got?
Stand still only if you want your accountancy firm to go backwards, go downhill, or lose out.
Three reasons why change is vital...
- 1Your competition get better and better, not worse
- 2Your clients demand more over time, not less
- 3Technology advances, it doesn’t retreat
To grow your firm means changing your firm. You have no choice but to embrace change.
So what do you do to make successful change?
When change works, it tends to follow a pattern.
Embrace this pattern and you turn ‘change’ into a competitive advantage for your accountancy firm.
Start with 4 helping hands here or read on for the full Bitesize Business Breakthrough.
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To change is human…
Change typically fails because it requires short-term sacrifice for long-term pay off.
But change we do...
We choose to leave our parents’ home; we start new jobs several times in our lifetime; we move in with someone; we move house.
We even embrace the profound change called parenting!
All common and massive changes.
Our job is to make change in our firm as obvious, as natural and as normal as these life-changing moves.
The pattern for successful change looks like this…
Here's the proven solution for you...
1. Give your team obvious and logical reasons for change.
2. Make sure you get their emotional ‘buy-in’.
3. Plus you need to share a crystal-clear path to change and then you’ll achieve successful change in your firm.
Save The Children challenges what's possible...
Imagine walking into Vietnam in 1991.
You’re with your partner and your 10-year-old son. None of you speak any Vietnamese.
The government are far from helpful.
Your employer, Save The Children, gives you almost no funds to work with.
To change the lives of the millions of children in Vietnam suffering severe malnourishment.
You have just six months to do it in.
This job, Jerry Sternin’s job, looks more challenging than most changes in most accountancy businesses.
Jerry followed the three-part pattern for successful change.
Jerry and his small team changed the lives of 2.2 million people in 265 villages across Vietnam.
It took them just six months. More on how Jerry did this shortly.
This three-part pattern works
Your memorable three-part pattern for successful change is a RIDER on an ELEPHANT on a PATH.
Let me explain:
Jonathan Haidt, an eminent psychologist, suggests change works best when you appeal to both the emotional AND the logical side of peoples’ brains.
Successful change requires you to:
Only ever one winner…
It’s logical (thinks the rider) that we’ll be healthier if we exercise more.
So our logical rider sets an alarm to get up early and go to the gym. But the alarm goes off and our (emotional) elephant rolls over and presses the snooze button, the rider's logical intentions are crushed!
Anytime the rider and the six-tonne elephant disagree the rider loses!
Chip and Dan Heath in their brilliant book ‘Switch’ make the 3-part pattern easier to follow, one you can follow when seeking change in your accountancy firm, the same one Jerry Sternin did in Vietnam:
1. Direct the Rider
2. Motivate the Elephant
3. Shape the Path
For insightful stories on each of these elements, check out the downloadable tools and resources at the end of this report.
Here’s how Jerry used this pattern in Vietnam…
Jerry puts this 3-part pattern to work in cooking groups!
In some villages he visited Jerry found a child that wasn't malnourished, even when most other children were.
Jerry invited the communities he worked with to identify those poor families who managed to avoid malnutrition despite all the odds – (the bright spots).
These bright spot families fed their children the same amount of food over four meals a day instead of the normal two meals. They also added shrimps from the paddy fields and sweet-potato greens that most families did not.
Jerry’s response? Copy the bright spot families!
By setting up cooking groups for 50 mothers Jerry helped them to be better cooks (grow your people).
The group also helped shrink the change by scripting the critical moves – (clear cooking instructions). This then helped build (new cooking) habits.
The cooking groups made it easy to point to the destination – healthy well-fed kids in their village.
Working together the mothers found a feeling – hope – “I really can make my daughter healthier”.
The cooking groups also helped tweak the (cooking) environment. And getting the mothers together also rallied the herd.
This initial pilot project resulted in the sustained recovery of several hundred malnourished children in several villages.
The programme then successfully reached 2.2 million people in 265 villages despite minimum staff, almost no budget, a ridiculous time scale and government resistance.
Clearly using the three-part change pattern worked for Jerry.
It can work for you and your firm too.
STOP thinking that a strong logical argument for the rider alone will result in successful change, it won't. Instead...
START doing what you can to influence and motivate the emotional and powerful elephant in us all.
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4 helping hands for you…
Leading and managing change is a critical skill for successful business.
Successful change starts with someone changing their behaviour – that someone is you, leading the change in your firm.
You change your leadership behaviours when you adopt a successful change pattern.
Put the rider, elephant and path metaphor to work for you.
Be the first to change
by tackling how you manage change differently
Work out how you can best
Direct The Rider
with better logic
Work out how you best
Motivate The Elephant
with emotional appeal
Work out how you best
Shape The Path
by making the next steps easier and more obvious
TIME TO DISAGREE
“My people simply don’t want to change, won’t change, don’t change.”
Yes, the common thinking is change is hard. Your experience in your firm can clearly back this up.
What’s also clear, as pointed out by the Heath brothers is…
“For anything to change, someone has to start acting differently.”
Chip & Dan Heath
Manage change like you’ve done in the past and you’ll get the same resistance.
Manage change differently, apply the three part pattern, and you might just achieve greater success at change.
Check out the popcorn story in the downloadable tools
and resources at the end of this report. This story clearly shows that what looks like a people problem is often a situation problem - tweak your team's working environment and the results change.
“For me to change and my people to change I need a simple solution.”
You’re right to seek a simple solution.
For example: an alarm clock that goes off at 6am and scoots off your bedside table to prevent you hitting the snooze button (and means you have to get out of bed to switch it off) is a simple solution - it’s called ‘Clocky’ and available on Amazon!
It tweaks the environment and gets you out of bed and on the way to the gym!
A busker who simply ‘seeds the hat’ or a waiter that ‘seeds the jar’ (by putting in coins and notes to show others have given) will get more donations/tips because she’s rallying the crowd.
Otherwise, an empty hat or empty jar is intimidating and points to a destination of not giving!
The successful change three-part pattern of the rider, the elephant and the path offers the simple solution you are seeking.
“If I start changing things, I run the risk of losing my people.”
Yes, change creates uncertainty.
Uncertainty makes employees feel less safe and secure about their job.
Uncertainty makes clients feel less safe and secure about their supplier.
It’s why the ’grow your people’ aspect of change management is so important.
Educate your people and your clients about your change (and the risk of not changing) and you reduce the uncertainty and risks of changing.
Check out the story in the downloadable tools at the end of this report about the hospital that reduced staff turnover (people leaving) by a process of ‘growing their people’.
“How do I know that using the three-part change pattern will pay off for my firm?”
If it can work for Jerry Sternin in Vietnam with no funding, no staff and government resistance, it stands a good chance of working for you.
Your 'Make It Happen' checklist:
Make successful change the norm in your accountancy firm. Follow a proven pattern for successful change…
If Jerry Sternin, with the odds truly stacked against him, can successfully change the lives of 2.2 million people in Vietnam you can also be successful at change.
The human race is already brilliantly successful at change (moving house, new job, having children, etc).
Your job, as the leader of your firm, is to apply the successful three-part change pattern to the changes you want to happen across your firm.
Choose a small change you want to make happen
You learn to ski on nursery slopes not on black runs. It pays to learn and apply the three-part change pattern working on a small change before advancing onto bigger change.
What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity – work out how to direct the ‘rider’ in your people
See if you can find the bright spots where the change you want has already shown up. Script the critical moves clearly. Make the ‘destination’ obvious, clear, concrete.
What looks like laziness is often exhaustion – work out how to motivate the ‘elephant’ in your people
What can you do to find the feeling, shrink the change or grow your people? Check out the stories in the downloadable tools and resources for inspiration and guidance. Unless you get emotional buy-in, then your change will fail.
What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem – work out how to shape the path
How can you tweak the working environment, build habits and rally the herd for the change you seek?
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YOUR SUPPORT TOOLS ARE HERE:
Click the link below and you'll find a selection of practical support tools to help you get a deeper understanding of how to manage and apply successful change in your firm.
Chip Heath & Dan Heath
We hope you’re now inspired to adopt a fresh and structured approach to leading and managing change.
In their inspiring book, the Heath brothers brilliantly share many powerful stories to prove the power of their three-part pattern for successful change.
Yes, it sounds like a scene from a Disney movie
direct the rider, motivate the elephant, shape the path...
...but the evidence the Heath brothers provide is extremely convincing.
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