I often fancy myself as something of a business consultant. If I walk into a shop or business, I often notice if something is wrong or could be done better. There is part of me which wants to tell the owner how to change and increase the popularity / success of his business.
But, the British reserve rarely says anything. Instead we complain in silence and then don’t go back or just put up with it. Also, there is no point in saying anything, unless there is some receptivity to hearing suggestions. Also, advice is easy to give, but it is much more important to deal with our own problems first!
Recently, I’ve been watching a series on television about failing businesses who ask a business consultant to come in and offer advice on how to turn the business around. It is an interesting insight into human behaviour!
One episode focused on a clothes shop which was losing money and was stuck in the past. The owner was passionate about clothes, but didn’t have much business sense and a mixed consumer service, which was good in parts, but also involved insulting consumers.
The business consultant suggested many changes which would help revitalise the business and reposition it in the market.
There is an inevitable resistance to change when we have been used to doing something in our own way for a long time.
Step by step approach. After suggesting several changes, the consultant realised it was too much. The business owner didn’t want to change the name of the shop. Although, he could see some of the benefits of changing, there was still an attachment to the previous ways of working. The consultant saw this and cut back her suggestions. Rather than make complete change, she suggested business owner make the changes he felt comfortable with. The owner had to be happy with the change they implemented.
Accentuating the positive strengths. The suggestions of change were met with resistance and uncertainty about moving out of their comfort zone. Rather than keep hitting on about the need to change, the consultant set up a day, where they would be able to show their skills of retailing in a different environment. By allowing their strong customer skills to come to the fore, the owner gained more confidence in the process of change, and how these skills could be at the centre of the business. Always we need a mixture of stick and carrot. Not just the stick! Continue reading “Seeking help and willingness to change”