Better Living Through Card Tricks

Atlanta Magician – Mentalist – Speaker Joe M. Turner | News and Comments from the Chief Impossibility Officer

Posts Tagged ‘management’

Change Management and New Shoes

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on July 24, 2012

Organizational change initiatives are complex in part because they can succeed or fail based on variables such as human psychology, business agility, economic environments, leadership skills, communication skills, technical capability, and even the occasional lucky break. Managing change is a combination of business acumen, social instinct, and leadership abilities that can’t be reduced to silly, oversimplified analogies.

Mr. Rogers: Master of the Shoe Change

Mr. Rogers: Master of the Shoe Change

On the other hand, change initiatives are a lot like getting new shoes.

  1. Eventually you’re going to need new shoes. You can’t put it off forever – even if you resole the pair you love, you already know that’s a stopgap measure. You know now that one day you’re going to need to get rid of what you’re wearing in favor of something else. If you wait until your shoes have holes in them, then you’ll have a lot less flexibility in looking for replacements.

    Do you want to be searching for new shoes because you have to have something immediately, or do you want to search for the next pair while you have the luxury of taking your time? Do you think you’ll more easily find the right fit if you search carefully, or if you search while in a state of dire need?

  2. In all likelihood, the exact make and model of the shoes you’re wearing now won’t be available when you need new ones. Even classics get changed, updated, or taken out of production. If you have convinced yourself that you can only function in one particular brand, style, or color of shoe then you may find yourself barefoot while looking for the new ones – and that may be a fool’s errand.

    Is your ability to function going to be helped or hindered by the constraints you have established for the new shoes? Are you certain that the constraints are meaningful?

  3. Even if the same shoes are available, your activities and needs may be different by the time you get the new ones. You might have a new job, suit, or fashion taste by the time you’re in the market for that new pair. Maybe you bought an extra pair when you found them. Even so, eventually your supply will run out.

    Are you willing to bet your future mobility on your hunch that neither your activities nor the environment in which you operate will change? Does that seem like a wise risk to you?

  4. You may not be able to afford custom-built shoes. Some folks can guarantee that they’ll never have to wear shoes that were mass produced. Most of the world will have to buy something off a shelf.

    Can you afford a custom solution for your new shoes? Does your budget make that a realistic option? Or will you get further, faster, by doing a careful search of more affordable options?

  5. There may be some discomfort involved. Even when new shoes fit great in the store, when they get put into action in the real world, you might get a blister at first. Eventually both the feet and the shoes adapt to each other.

    The process of change is inevitably going to bring some degree of discomfort. That doesn’t mean you discard the shoes – it means you may have to stretch them, break them in, and give them time to mold to your physical shape. Are you giving the new shoes a fair trial?

Can you think of other ways that organizational change is like getting new shoes?


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

The Value of a Backward Glance

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on March 23, 2011

The first quarter of 2011 has flown by! Daylight Saving Time, bumblebees, and pine pollen are all back in the mix as we speed toward the end of a beautiful March here in Atlanta.

Looking Back

Taking a moment to look back on your work can uncover trends you missed and remind you of ideas you might have overlooked.

I’m currently in the midst of packing for an evening show in Fairfax, Virginia this weekend. This engagement was a direct result of a fantastic opportunity here in Atlanta last year. The person who booked me for that event called me back after joining a new organization and as a result, she is about to become one of the most important people in the operation of my business: a repeat client.

I took a look at the various engagements I’ve had over the course of the first quarter and realized something important: the most lucrative projects I’ve had this year have come from clients who have booked me before. Repeat clients kept me afloat when the economic storms were strongest, and they are propelling me to new goals as we all seek a much-needed economic recovery.

Taking a moment to look at my calendar made me do two things. First, I kicked myself for not acting more regularly and more effectively on the basic business principle that we all already know: keep communicating with your clients! Second, I decided that I need to promote some of my good new clients from “first timers” to “repeat client” status.

If you’ve ever managed a team, you know that some individuals are almost completely self-motivated. Some clients are the same way – they have vision, creativity, and are ready to go. These are the kinds of clients who call you without prompting, ready to float a new idea past you to see how you can help. It’s through these clients that I’ve gotten to leverage my magic, mentalism and speaking skills in a variety of less common settings such as meeting host, awards MC, and even a visiting imposter keynote speaker.

Most individuals, though, are not so self-directed and require some degree of hands-on management. Most repeat clients are like this, needing an occasional nudge and direct contact. Like any good team, they will come through time and time again when directed and managed wisely, but it’s up to you to help get them on the right track.  (Note: You may want to check out my May 2010 article on Explorers, Expanders, and Exorcists for more information on various types of clients.)

Side Mirror View

WARNING: The value of that client in your mirror is greater than it appears!

This is where the “backward glance” becomes so valuable and important. It takes some management effort on your part (read that, “my part”) to convert past clients into repeat clients. A backward glance through the last month, quarter, or year of your calendar will show you that you have not yet gotten the full value of the work you’ve already done.

Mining the value of the clients on last year’s calendar will never completely take the place of developing new business, but the profitability minded performer remembers that it takes less effort and fewer resources to do more work for an existing client than it does to create a new one. Cars have large windshields to make it easy to see the road ahead, but they also have mirrors for very good reasons. So here’s my warning: the value of that client in your mirror is greater than it appears!

Many of us spent the last few months focusing on and implementing the things that we want to do differently in our lives and in our businesses this year. That’s great, but it may be worth remembering that there are some things we want to do again and again. Working many times for wonderful clients who know your work and have become advocates for you is something that never gets old.

Go promote some of your clients to a higher rank!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »