Trust The Signs, It’s Time For Change

adapt to change

“Haw now realized that the change probably would have not taken him by surprise, if he had been watching what was happening all along, and if he had anticipated change”.

I just finished my annual visit with Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese. I find this simple allegory and story so timeless, relevant and helpful every time I read it. I have shaken up and changed several things in my life since 2007, so I especially relate to it and find it affirming.

Change is a way of life now, not a periodic event. Things are happening faster, all the time and all around us. Change happens sometimes quickly and dramatically and sometimes slowly and subtly, but it is always happening.

Are you feeling it, do you see it all around you and are you prepared for it?

I made a voluntary career change in 2006 after 20-plus years in broadcast radio sales and management.

I knew there was a next for me, so I planned my exit and took a leap of faith with a plan and an open mind. It’s been crazy, exciting, unexpected and has given me amazing experiences, I would not have had if I would have stayed.

The main premise of Who Moved My Cheese is about anticipating change by noticing the small things already changing around you and being prepared to move on it immediately, instead of ignoring it.

In business today, keeping up with and embracing change is survivalist. Staying up to date, relevant and competitive is a key ingredient and necessity for success. Here are some things that can show you the way and lead you forward.

What are People Talking about and Doing Around You?

Be observant and engage regularly with your customers, mentors and people you trust to keep up with trends, elicit feedback and suggestions on how you can improve procedures, services, customer service and engagement. Give people a fresh and consistent user experience on line and in person to keep them interested and coming back.

Look for the Signals and Signs

“Smell the cheese often so you see when it’s going old”. Is it getting harder to find new customers? Are you not getting enough referrals? Is your customer retention down? Sometimes it’s subtle signs that are not always easy to see, but important to notice.

Trust your Instincts and be Proactive in Making Small Changes Regularly

Usually, we sense when things are not going just right, but we choose to ignore it. Instincts are powerful signs and messages we get that are usually right on. Respect them, evaluate them and act on them to make small, subtle changes that can make a difference.

Be Willing to Adapt to Change

When Sniff and Scurry moved on when their cheese moved, Hem and Haw both decided to wait it out and hope that their cheese would return, instead of moving on and finding new cheese and adapting to change. Often, we don’t want things to change because we fear it, but we feel the best when we are moving rather than staying stuck. “Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese”. Follow the lead of your competitors and other businesses creating buzz and activity. What are they doing?

Change is a Door, so Look for the Opportunities Change can Bring

There are incredible opportunities in trends and change. Getting too comfortable or set in our ways in business is a liability. Willingness, open-mindedness, curiosity and adventure are assets. Focus on the benefits change can bring and have faith it can work for you because it’s worked for others.

“Haw stopped to write on the wall and wondered why he had always thought that a change would lead to something worse. Now he realized that change could lead to something better.”

Seek out new opportunities to enhance relationships, invigorate your attitude, renew your commitment and activity. Read, discuss, try, connect, create, engage, smile, laugh and serve gratefully. This creates great brand energy and attraction.

Hiking Paths Photo via Shutterstock

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Deborah Shane Deborah Shane has been recognized as a Top 100 Small Business Champion and Top 50 SMB Influencer (Dunn and Bradstreet 2015). She is a career transition author, personal branding and social media specialist. Deborah's book "Career Transition: Make the Shift" is available through all major book sellers.

7 Reactions
  1. Couldn’t agree more. Change is always happening and that’s why I feel that every business owner needs to be involved in sales or regularly work with sales reps who are. These are the front line people who usually detect those minor changes first.

  2. Thanks, Deborah,

    Your post is spot-on. Only those who recognize and can then adapt to an always-changing business marketplace will survive.

    The Franchise King®

    • Amen..Flow don’t fight change. It always leads us to where we need to go. Best to work on acceptance amd solutions. Have an awesome year Joel.

  3. Hi Deborah,

    thanks for reminding me of that great book – I need to revisit it.

    I love your advice to make constant small changes. I think those little adjustments make a huge difference over time without the stress of big shifts.

  4. The key is to notice the signs is happening and to act accordingly. It is important to not be stubborn and resist acting. You should act in the right moment. The key is to never be afraid of change.