One of the hardest parts of running a business is “ripping off band-aids.”
The band-aid in question can be any number of situations demanding a change:
- A pricing model that won’t allow for profitability
- A long term employee that’s no longer working out
- A new hire that didn’t turn out to be the right fit
- A service offering that’s not as good as other options
- A scheduling or billing software that’s clunky
- An ad agency that’s not delivering the promised results
- A lease that’s too onerous for your business to thrive
I could go on and on, but you get the point.
Now let’s consider the two barriers to making the change:
1) You’re not 100% sure that your proposed alternative will really be better.
Sometimes the grass just looks greener. Indeed, this is a sticky widget and will require some careful thinking on your part.
While careful thinking is required to make this assessment, today’s missive will focus on barrier #2.
2) All change meets with resistance.
This often comes in the form of emotional pushback from those involved. This is especially so if they believe they will be negatively impacted.
Sometimes that’s a clear cut concern: if you’re letting someone go, this is usually not their preferred play.
Sometimes the changes may be for the long term good of all parties, but you’ll still get resistance.
Any meaningful change will involve logistical hurdles. And even if YOU are confident the change will make everyone’s lives better over the long term, most humans don’t like change. Particularly if you’re making a decision they disagree with in good faith.
But you’ll still need to get over the hump.
If you believe in your heart of hearts that ripping off a band-aid will facilitate the best possible version of your business… then you have to do the hard thing.
Your role is to serve the extended community.
This means balancing the needs of your clients, your employees, and the shareholders as best you know how. And occasionally, this will require creating discomfort for some parties; not the least of which is you!
This has been one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn. If you care deeply about people’s feelings, it can be hard to do things that will result in people being upset with you.
So let me offer a phrase that comes from the book Traction and it’s Entrepreneurial Operating System:
“36 hours of pain.”
When you find yourself agonizing about firing an employee, or raising your prices, or any other necessary change, it’s going to hurt like hell for 36 hours.
And then it will be done.
To be clear, this isn’t to say you should make changes willy nilly. You still need to make sure the appropriate people weigh in as you decide how to proceed.
You still need to communicate WHY the change is happening and roll it out well.
You still need to have individual conversations, help people process the change, and even let them vent when necessary.
But when you know the right call and you’re hemming and hawing…
Remember you’ve got a mere 36 hours of pain ahead of you.
And on the other side is a better business for you, your clients, and your employees.
We can do hard things,