If you’ve flipped through my blog or listened to my podcast, you probably noticed I talk a lot about change.
It’s a hugely important topic for leaders in every industry, including the home service industry.
I’ve loved and hated my own change journeys, but it’s taken decades of experience to look at the idea of change of how to tackle it effectively and in a way that sticks.
I’ve talked a lot about fear around change and about the process, but today I wanted to tackle the 3 elements of change.
Let’s dig in, my friends, and step into our greatness.
3 Elements Of Change
I want to talk to you about three elements of change.
Yes. I love talking about it so much I wrote a book called The Six Dimensions Of C.H.A.N.G.E. 2.0.
Click the link to check it out, get it on Audible, or however you prefer to consume content.
At Leadership In A Nutshell here, we focus on home service, and we talk about change a lot.
Today, I want to kind of think about the three main components of change.
This is an important topic to me because I’m blessed enough to have entered the home service space in 1994.
I’ve already passed 27 years.
As I track toward 30 years here, what I’ve realized is that processes, technology, and people have always been the three elements of change.
But the fascinating thing that’s happening now in today’s world is that there’s a lot more of all of these.
Sometimes things get lost when we’re creating change.
Would you agree?
Give me a head nod.
You’re with me.
In short, these are how the elements affect change.
The process is the “how” the change occurs.
Technology affects the efficiency of the change.
The people are the ones who move the change and make or break it all.
There’s not too much to say about the process of change.
I’ve written and spoken about it many times.
This the part we’re all fairly familiar with.
These are the steps we take to enact and follow change.
If you want to learn more specifically about how to effectively spark change in a meaningful way, check out some of these previous articles:
All I’ll say here today on this is that you need to raise awareness for yourself about the steps of the process for change.
Make a note of what you need, the reason for doing it, and the steps along the way.
Do this through reflection and planning and continually reflect and refine as you go through the change itself.
The process is an active element of change, and it evolves along the way.
Don’t just “set it and forget it.”
When it comes to technology, some of you older folks like me (at least in years on this planet; I don’t believe in age as anything more than a number) may balk at the idea of technology always being a part of the change.
It has been. From the beginning of time, technology has been a critical element.
Sure, it’s looked different over the years, but it’s always stayed true to its role in change:
When I first started in the home service field back in 1994, my dispatch system was a whiteboard and chart along with a telephone.
That was the tech I used, and it worked.
That was how we did it.
And then technology enters in many different ways, in many different forms.
Now we have some amazing dispatch software and different technology available. Communication technology is staying in touch with clients.
And it all impacts the effectiveness of the systems.
This was one of the many reasons Henry Ford changed the world of manufacturing, right?
As automobiles were being developed, he refined the technology of assembly lines and changed the game.
Think about communication alone. Holy cow.
You no longer have to pull over when your pager goes off and get some quarters out of the ashtray and call a client back.
I want you to think about this.
My process was I wrote dispatches on a whiteboard.
My technology was the answering service, which paged me with the client’s name and phone number.
And then I would go pull over and find a payphone and call them back.
This was where my people entered the phase.
I was by myself in a truck when I started as a dead-broke drain cleaner.
Then technology began evolving.
The next thing you know, we got two-way radios.
I got a two-way radio in my service vans.
My dispatcher has a handheld back at the office.
Now, all of a sudden, she’s able to go call us on the spot.
Remember Nextel back in the day? They had cell phones, but they also had two-way radios.
They were great for the service industry. I bet you remember them.
They changed the game for technology.
But at the end of the day, it wasn’t the process that made the change, though it helped the steps.
It wasn’t the tech, though it helped speed the process along.
It was people. People make or break change. Never forget it.
If my technicians didn’t go to their van or they didn’t answer a page, none of the other stuff mattered.
If they forgot their radios or ignored dispatch, we could have the best process and technology in the world, and nothing would get done.
Do you hear me? Is this resonating with you?
Some of you are going: Good, Lord, Kenny. You’re old.
Guess what? I’m just getting started, baby.
We have no idea of knowing how our technology is going to evolve and help the process.
But we do know that people, real people, will always be the driving force behind the change.
Fast forward five years from now, and we’ll look at what we’re doing now that we think is cutting edge, and we’ll laugh with each other and give the nod at a live event and go:
Man, you remember back when we were doing that?
We have zero way (or accuracy) in telling how tech will go, but we know people are critical.
People Are The Cutting Edge Of Change
Feel what you feel.
I’m not here to predict or say what’s coming in the future.
What I’m here to do is help you navigate whatever does come in the future and help you be prepared mentally, emotionally, and subconsciously in order to do that.
The process is the how.
The technology supports the process, and people support both.
I went to the E-Myth Academy with Michael Gerber in December of 2000 and started to bang my head against the wall.
A few years later, I realized I needed to get some help.
I wanted to systematize.
I wanted to have a self-managing company, even though I didn’t understand what that was or what that could look like.
So I met Michael Gerber got involved with E-Myth.
I should say I read the book first.
And then, I got involved with Gerber and his philosophies.
I attacked the process.
I can implement the technology that we had.
But let me tell you what surprised me the most about the experience. (You may be able to guess based on how this article has gone.)
This guy, a leader and changer at the highest level, values relationships and people more than anything else on the whole planet.
This is where I failed at first.
Guess what? People took a back seat to my process and my technology.
I said to myself:
Wow! I can systematize. People can be interchangeable.
I build systems so solid and so strong that anybody can run my systems.
People went down the line and said that’s not where they wanted to go.
I did it, and it was a disconnect. It didn’t resonate with me.
And it didn’t resonate with my people, and it didn’t work.
I ignored what I should have started with.
It All Comes Back To People
I’m here on this planet to grow people, to help people grow themselves, to hold up a mirror, to help create behavior change, and to help you draw out the very best in you to your greatness.
But how does this work with process and technology? How can I help people, the key to change, align with these processes, which seem like their own thing?
Every 30-40 years, there’s been a revolution in the industry. Right now, it’s technology.
The things we do now blow away what we used to do.
You’re going to see a shift and change in how education is done in this industry.
We’re going to have them make or break the changes that we want to see in-home service.
We want our team to adapt, adopt, and apply best practices with groups, the consultants, and the people out there helping.
Yes, I’ve got a company called the Blue Collar Success Group that, if you’re not involved in, you should see some of the incredible things my team is building over there.
This is what it’s all about, right?
Helping each other.
But I don’t care where you get your education.
Well, I guess I do because I would love to have you as a client.
That being said, I just want you to get what you want.
I want you to win.
Today, I want to be aware of the 3 elements of change and how we often dehumanize it, much to our own failure in the long run.
Change Begins With The People: Don’t Do It Backward
It makes so much sense intellectually to be with the process.
Here’s the process I want.
I can whiteboard it out.
Now I can apply some tech to it to make it work better.
And then I’ll just have my people embrace it and run within some of that.
No. Wrong. Uh huh. Stop. Back up.
Write this down somewhere. Tattoo it on your forehead (no, don’t do that!).
Consider your people at the onset.
If you’re going to create change, and you know it’s going to involve process and technology, get your people involved in the onset.
Make sure you and they understand.
Here’s the deal:
People need to know about the change.
They don’t need to know all the details.
They don’t need to know every single thing, but they need to understand some “why” behind it.
Anytime you’ve got to change process, if you know you’re going to implement new technology, you’ve got to sell the why.
One Way I Learned This Lesson
Way back in the day, in June 2002, I bought a business.
I bought another plumbing/heating/air company 60 miles away.
Now I closed on that and implemented brand new service and dispatch software on the same day.
And I’ll never forget Robin (who ended up buying the business from me many years later); she came to me about a month into that.
She scolded me and told me never to buy a business and change a whole bunch of stuff like that.
At the same time, the growth-driven, quick-to-start leader in me was like, “Hey, that’ll be perfect. We’re going to close on a new business and launch the new software across both platforms.”
It made perfect sense to me, but it became a huge pain point.
If you can’t guess why, I haven’t been doing my job with the rest of the article.
The people got involved late in the process. They had no buy-in, and it was a challenge.
Had I sat down with Robin before I did that and involved all the people, I could have avoided a ton of pain and made the change so much more successful.
You need to involve your people, and you need to sell the problem of why the change needs to happen.
The conversation may have been tough. There may have been back and forth and criticism and feedback, but I know the process would have been better for it.
As you tackle change, keep the three elements in mind, and start with the people first.
This is how we unlock our greatness and unlock the power of our teams through meaningful and purposeful change.
Take this and go make it a better-than-fantastic day!