I don’t know how many conversations that we at BKBG have had with Shareholders, noting that the industry has dramatically changed and that all of our businesses need to change to keep pace. Think about what has happened to our industry and to a larger extent our society as we emerge from a global pandemic. Could you have imagined that we would live in a world where more individuals have a mobile telephone subscription than access to electricity or safe drinking water? As Dan Pink describes in his book To Sell Is Human, we have moved from Caveat Emptor to Caveat Venditor (buyer beware to seller beware).
Today, homeowners come to our showrooms armed with idea books, reviews by prior clients and budget impressions adversely influenced by HGTV. They likely have visited your web site or talked to neighbors whose kitchens you have designed. In many cases, they know more about kitchen design than your average bear. The way prospective clients find us, the way they evaluate us, and the way they make decisions to retain our services have changed significantly. And we need to change to keep pace. That’s easier said than done.
And when you have a quiet moment, what changes have you really made in the 19 months to respond to current market conditions? Most likely your adoption of technology solutions has changed the way you operate and interact with your clients, prospects and team members. What changes to you have to make to help ensure a personal connection with clients, team members, subs and prospects?
The pandemic has changed the way kitchens function. With so many people working from home and will continue to work from home, you and your designers need to determine new functionality your clients want and need from their new kitchen. What have you changed to help your clients make it easier to do business with you or to demonstrate that you understand what they truly want from their new kitchen? What’s changed and what has been the result of that change?
If the answer to most of the questions is not much, you most likely are not alone. Most people are resistant to change. The psychologists and HR folks tell us that people resist change, because they believe they lose control. They fear the unknown and gravitate to what is most comfortable and what works. That’s why it’s difficult to change lines.
Can you blame your fellow team members for sticking with the status quo? Yes, you can because our world changed so rapidly. Can you imagine when you were happy when a manufacturer told you that their lead time was 16 or 20 weeks? How have supply chain shortcomings changed the way you market, provide service, schedule and manage your projects? Are the same tried and true processes used prepandemic work in a post COVID-19 world? Are you giving your team the tools they need to be successful? Confucius wrote, “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.”
Dan Pink writes in his seminal work Drive that one effective way to facilitate change in behavior is to phrase the goals you want to achieve as business problems and ask your staff to be active participants in the resolution of those problems. Pink claims that this technique will do more to overcome resistance and motivate change than any other strategy. A couple of suggestions:
Telling someone who has been doing X for a long time to suddenly do Y is a recipe for disaster. Making your team members the facilitators of change makes it easier and more rewarding.