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Change is a risky business

Change is a risky business

Nicola Hopes

3 November 2020

You might know I’m a bit of a risk taker at heart. So, this is one of my favourite quotes:

“A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”.

John A. Shedd – American Author, 1928

Change is about taking calculated risks and managing them.

It’s about setting a direction, accepting you don’t yet know how to get there and gathering a team who just might help you find the way.

At the moment the rules around change have, well, changed.

Despite it seeming counterintuitive, taking a risk right now seems less risky. But why is this the case?

I was reading an article in the Harvard Business Review on 29th October 2020:

“Advancements in information technology, automation [and] human interconnectivity…

have created a new reality where change is much more rapid, continual, and ubiquitous.

Covid-19… laid bare a ‘new normal’ of change, marked by three dimensions:

                  • It’s perpetual — occurring all the time in an ongoing way.
                  • It’s pervasive — unfolding in multiple areas of life at once.
                  • It’s exponential — accelerating at an increasingly rapid rate.

[We] will be defined by the ability to navigate this new reality”.


Stuck in the harbour

To bring this to life - have you been trying to convince your team, colleagues or board that more flexible working would allow you to attract and retain more talented people? 

Or that more digital services for your colleagues and customers would win more business and engage more people?

For years you’d heard all the reasons why it’s not possible – culture, management, doing business face to face, cost.

Then lockdown happened. And those who told you it’d never work are looking a bit sheepish.


Plot the course

While they are having to reconsider their objections, you might be able to get them to listen to you and take that next risk.

You may have a chance to launch that key project that you’ve struggled to move forward.

So, what’s that great idea that’s been met with ‘it’ll never work’ from your senior stakeholders and ‘they’ll never go for it’ from your peers?

I’m betting there’s something springing to mind already...

Set Sail

Articulate clearly why this idea is so valuable or significant and what will be different as a result. Paint the picture.

Think about the stories you have heard in the last few months that challenge old beliefs on the topic. Start to tell them.

Describe why now is the right time for example are there experts you can now access; suppliers who are more likely to do a deal; technologies that have become more widely used or more proven. Make the case.

So, share with me that compelling argument about which direction to go in now. Perhaps I can help you chart the course?

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