Customers may like change, but that doesn’t mean your industry, financiers or other stakeholders like it, too. Overcoming opposition to your innovations and operations takes a particular kind of skill set to succeed.
When operating in a very traditional industry or aspect of business, it’s not uncommon to face hesitancy or even stubborn resistance to any form of change.
This is exactly what Synovum Care’s Natasha Chadwick has found in trying to disrupt the way aged care services are provided in Australia.
Yet amid opposition from peers in her industry, and intense scrutiny of her business model from government, lenders and even prospective employees, Natasha says it’s important not to let this dissuade you from pushing ahead with an idea you know will work.
“I’ve always believed that if you don’t back yourself, then you can’t expect anybody else, too. So that’s been one of my mantras,” explains Natasha speaking with the My Business Podcast crew.
“I think it’s really important that if you are going to do something like that, then explore it – do the research, understand what it is that you’re going to do. But do it. At some point, you’ve got to take the lead or you’ll just continue to be a follower.”
Indeed, it’s a common philosophy of many successful people: be sure to thoroughly research the feasibility of any new innovation first and foremost. But once you know you’re onto a good idea, hold fast to your idea and don’t let resistance from naysayers or roadblocks to shift you off course.
What other business leaders say about countering opposition:
“The best businesses I think come out of frustration and a feeling that ‘dammit, airlines do bump people, airlines do treat people badly’ and just get out there and give it a try.
“That’s the simple thing about business – just come up with an idea that is really going to make a positive difference to other people’s lives and the figures, by and large, will add up. Sometimes they won’t, but it’s likely that if you’re creating something really special, it’s very rare that special things go bust.”
“My favourite saying is ‘The most dangerous phrase is we’ve always done it this way.’ [Consider] how do you make sure you’ve got fresh thinking and you’re not just falling back into ‘We’ve always done it this way’.”
“After you go bankrupt, everyone moves away from you. It’s only your own mind [that determines success or failure], so you [need to] do something that is really inspirational – that you truly love.”
“If I had known this was gonna take me 10 years, I never would have started. Simple. Really simple … [but] you get so far along a journey that if you think you’re succeeding and if you think you’re heading in the right direction, you want to push [yourself] and that to the end.”
“If your business is currently facing financial difficulty, worry less about what other people think and focus more on what your gut is telling you. If you know you can carry your business through the tougher times by making your business leaner and potentially scaling back up later, do it!
“There is no room for ego in leadership: do what’s commercially right and don’t lose sight of your ‘why’.”
Zed’s approach is to create trust by being completely open with your stakeholders about what you are doing, and why.
“Initially everyone was saying, ‘Yeah, but you’re going to compete on this or that level’, and we’re saying, ‘No, no, this is what we’re doing. This is what you’re doing, and there is margin in the chain for everyone if we do it like this’.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.