Recently someone asked me if service businesses face any fear when it comes to implementing new technologies or are they open to innovation. I had the think about this for minute and my answer is yes, they do face fear. Sure, a lot of business executives appreciate how important innovation is to the success of their company. However, few really step up and make change. Many more just talk about it or are forever planning to do it. This is fear rearing its ugly head.
Ridiculous you might say. Businesses are supposed to think rationally. How could a competent business let emotions get in the way? The answer is simple…businesses are run by people, people are only human, and fear is part of being human. In fact, business people have an uncanny way of expressing their fears as though they are rational objections. Here are just a few examples of typical objections that I have heard leaders give over then last twenty years for not adopting new technologies and the emotional sub-text (i.e., fear) about what they are really thinking:
Objection: Technology will not be able to do as good a job as me or my people
Fear: I will be replaced by a machine
Objection: Our Company is not ready for this new technology
Fear: People will resist my suggestion and I don’t want to risk my job over it
Objection: We tried something like this before and it didn’t work
Fear: I’ll be ridiculed for suggesting this idea. The last guy that tried to do this failed at it and lost his job.
Objection: This new technology is just hype. I can’t see it working for us.
Fear: I am really uncertain if we’ll be able to implement this effectively and don’t want to be the guy that failed, and lost his job because of it.
Objection: We can’t afford it. It’s not in the budget.
Fear: This could personally hurt me (us) financially this year (i.e. no bonus).
So what can leaders do to overcome their own fears? Tony Robbins, the great motivational speaker and self-help author offers three strategies:
1. Find something you are more scared of: Sure the fear of making a mistake about adopting new technology can be paralyzing but lost customers, increased operating costs, service inefficiencies and quality issues can be even more devastating.
2. Visualize what the future will be like: Imagine yourself and your company 3 or 5 years in the future. What will your future look like if you don’t make the change today? What impact will it have on market share, customer experience, or profits? If your answer is that things will be worse, much worse, then you will probably make the investment in the new technology.
3. Get Passionate about it: You can do this by defining all the reasons why you want to make a change and then make the change an absolute must.
Each one of these strategies has something in common. They require a leader to analyze their current situation and understand the implications of doing nothing versus the benefits of doing something. It also requires the leader have a well-defined plan for the future, and that he/she works diligently to carry out that plan. Remember that fear is acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. Therefore the more supporting evidence you have that your plans are attainable, the more certain you will be at achieving it.
Let me know what you think of this post by sharing your comments below. If you believe you need more supporting evidence to pursue innovation in your service business then let’s schedule a FREE strategy session today. Last but not least, check out my new e-book titled “Unlocking value you within your service supply chain” for more suggestions on how to innovate and grow your service business.