“Good things come to those who wait.” It is a saying that we are all used to, but sometimes in business quick wins are equally important.
This week I (Ak Sabbagh) was delighted to be invited to speak to a dozen or so CEOs as part of Bruce Fielding’s CEO Institute chapter here in Perth. The topic was about not wasting a good crisis and using the time to be innovative and creative in your business.
We agreed that innovation does not mean that the business has to invent the cure for cancer or a new revolutionary app. Indeed, many of the CEOs present were able to share how smaller innovations (like changes to current products and services, and tweaks to processes) have helped them to remain “business fit” in uncertain times.
With innovation comes ‘change.’ Change is an interesting thing – and right now, for many of us it feels like we are experiencing ‘change fatigue.’ Who isn’t exhausted by the amount of change that we are experiencing either directly or indirectly at the moment?
This led us to a conversation on our personal relationship with ‘change’ itself. How do you feel about change? For some, it is an exciting opportunity to challenge, create and grow. For many, the mere thought of change brings up fears. The fear of loss of control or agency, the loss of security and certainty, etc.
It turns out that these fears stem from deep seated chemistry within our brains. In recent conversations with applied neuroscientists Lyra Puspa and Dr Paul Brown, I learned that our brains are naturally ‘lazy’ and love habit because it preserves energy. This trait is essentially a key to survival. Brains learn to become lazy by creating habits. And as we get conditioned to those habits, (i.e. become creatures of habit), this reduces how much energy the brain exerts on doing things.
It’s why we look at systemising processes and creating procedures in what we do.
But there are times where we need to change the systems or the processes. That means we need to change our habits, and our natural tendency is to resist the change. Why? Because it means our brains have to work more to learn the new way of doing things. This works at the most fundamental level – can you recall the agitation created the last time an invited guest sat at your dinner table in ‘your spot’ or your 2nd child’s usual chair? Breaking the norm challenges us.
So one of the key success factors in any change program is to determine ‘quick wins.’ Incremental changes that move us towards the ultimate goal without a need to make major shifts all at once create an environment where ‘quick wins’ get associated with positive rewards (I guess that’s why they call them ‘wins’). A quick win sets off good chemistry in the brain. Small, incremental, habit forming changes that are positively reinforced set off ‘liking’ and ‘wanting’ chemical markers of motivation (opioids and dopamine). In contrast, change that cause negative reinforcements sets off cortisol – a key stress marker.
So, what are the innovations you are introducing that are creating positive motivations? Creating new, constructive habits? We’d like to know what’s been going on with you in your business.
Join us this coming Friday 21st August at 9am WST with other business leaders and owners for a Zoom conversation to discuss what we’ve collectively learned, what we take forward, leave behind, and how we Find a New Balance.
Join us to Find a New Business Balance, click here to register now.
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