I’ve become an avid Peloton user, and the other morning instructor Jess Sims shared a message in her class that resonated with me in a few ways. She said, “everyone wants the transformation, but not everyone wants to change.”
At the end of 2021, I realized I’d gained 30 pounds during the year. Now obviously I knew I’d gained weight, but I had avoided the scale because I wasn’t ready to face the facts. This was a combination of things – in late 2020 I had Covid which took me out of my healthy routines, that led into the holidays, the holidays led into another full year of Covid stress on top of other things and it simply snowballed. Going into 2022, I knew I needed the transformation, and I was ready for the change.
I have lost all 30 pounds since and have been reminded how much better I feel – physically and mentally – when I exercise every day. I did a Whole30 in January to reset my nutrition habits and since that ended, I’ve simply focused on being mindful of my choices but not restricting or tracking what I eat, because that doesn’t feel right for me. There have been days that I have wanted to make short term choices that don’t support my long-term goals, but I’ve kept the end game in mind and have stayed committed to the (ongoing) change.
What does this have to do with field service? Well, I’ve seen the same concept play out often – a company wants the value of transformation but isn’t willing to put in the arduous work of change. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they simply don’t realize the level of change required to truly transform. Other times you have pockets of the organization who embrace the change and others who resist, slowing and sometimes halting transformation. Maybe a company is stuck on a certain layer of change that is uniquely complex. Sometimes the intensity of it all causes a sort of burnout and efforts fizzle. And so on.
In my years creating content in this space, I’ve been asked by technology vendors often: What’s the next big thing? We’ve already discussed X topic so much; we need to address something new. And I say: yes and no. There’s nothing wrong with being forward thinking and pondering what the future holds. But in service the reality is that there’s still a significant amount of quite foundational transformation that needs to be done before those companies can even consider what’s next, and that’s the case because the topics we’ve been discussing for five even 10 years seem super simple on paper but are incredibly complex to execute in the realities of the business.
To See the Potential, You Have to Put in The Work
It’s true that there can be no transformation without change. When I ask a leader what held the business back from success or what was the #1 lesson learned, the most common answer is change management. We know change is hard, but we also know it’s necessary – so rather than avoiding it, we need to embrace it and to make it a fiber of our culture.
Generally, I think the issues lie less in companies not being willing to put in the work than not recognizing which areas will demand focus or to what extent. Here are a few points to consider:
- Start with clarifying the purpose of your transformation (and make sure it is crystal clear for the purpose of communicating to others)
- Determine what success looks like and how you’ll measure progress (be realistic)
- Involve stakeholders early to validate your thinking, surface objections, and create buy-in
- Ensure the team you have involve is cross functional as this is one way you’ll avoid disjointedness and surprise challenges
- Be committed to the change but not to the methods – be flexible enough to consider that the path to success may wind, but as long as you’re making forward progress you are doing it “right”
- Communicate early and often and over and over. If you think you’ve said it a million times, say it again – and always with your audience’s “why” in mind
- Own the fact that you must make your transformation personal for everyone in your business you expect to carry it out. Unless you can reach the finish line alone (and you can’t), it needs to matter to them as much as it matters to you. How will you achieve this? Communication is key, but so is employee engagement, recognition, incentives, input and leadership
- Expect bumps in the road and normalize failure
There’s so much more I could add, but this is a start. Seeing the industry’s progress from a bit of a distance over more than a decade, I recognize how we’re collectively moving along the path. There are leaders who have truly successful transformed service to be a customer-centric, digitally capable profit center and who are ready to innovate above and beyond. There are some who have tried and failed because they weren’t ready for the change, who must pick themselves up and try again. And many in between.
What excites me is the potential that I believe lies just on the other side of this hard work of transformation. Yes, the work is never done – and that’s OK. Part of evolving to be a modern business is recognizing that the change is really ongoing and that the transformation is never “complete.” Embracing that is what fuels your journey and allows you to surpass your initial objectives time and time again.