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Change is the new black

Here are five ways to help you get ahead of the change curve and reap the benefits.

Here are five ways to help you get ahead of the change curve and reap the benefits.



Our ongoing strive for improved productivity, profitability, quality of life, quality of product or more downtime can only come from one place. Change.

Change is normal. Evolution is normal and it is expected.

To expect different results from the same behaviour is either insanity or a result of conditions entirely outside of your control, in which case you can’t take the credit.

But you can take the blame if you weren’t prepared for the unexpected.

Over the past eight years that I have been involved with roomsXML and have seen some incredible changes in the industry.

Here are some examples:

  • Perceptions on commission versus net rates
  • Once upon a time airlines gave great returns
  • On request versus real time
  • TCF
  • Helloworld/iTravel/iTalk Travel

And on it goes and will continue doing so.

So far this year, we may not see revolutions, but we will continue to see evolutions of everything.

So the truth is, you need to keep changing in ways that are either new or give you a chance to keep evolving. Here are some thoughts.


1. Old school cash in the bank

I’m too conservative to borrow cash to fund business growth. But I haven’t gone broke yet and across all businesses have seen steady, sustainable growth. Bills get paid, customers get supported. Sure, there’s no Porsche or race horse yet but who needs that when I walk to work anyway.

When we have profit, we reinvest it, we pay bills in advance and we always leave cash in the bank. I hate owing money. Even those debts your accountant loves you to have.

If there is a disaster like an ash cloud or a drop in the dollar we need to cover, business can continue. If we see a new opportunity that requires some cash upfront to capitalise, we are ready to go. It doesn’t happen often but it’s lovely to make a decision in half an hour rather than spend two weeks negotiating with the bank.


2. Bring challenges into your workplace

There are certain types of music I like. Matt Paterson, the customer service lead in Australia, is only 25. Most of the time we like the same sort of music but every now and then he gets me to “listen to this”. Sometimes it is just awesome.

Are you allowing your staff to challenge you with their ideas? Do they have tunes you might dance to?

It is a massive fail if you think you know all the moves already.


3. Observe your competitors

I competed in karate again the other week and received some advice from someone I really admire – “fight your own fight”.

You need strategy, preparation and visualisation of success. You need to have an idea of how you are going to score the points to get ahead and if you do, defend that ground.

I turned up to the fight with an hour to prepare only to be told “you are on – NOW – the draw has changed.”

The agile, five-foot nine 74 kilogram fighter gets shuffled against someone else and you find yourself against a lumbering six-foot four 110 kilogram Dan from the country. There goes the strategy. It’s happened more than once.

Competitors don’t have to dictate your moves. You should never emulate them but aim to improve well beyond them. If you do not, you are simply giving up points early on in the round. You need to train hard, watch them, watch the clock and listen to your coach in a very fast moving chess game.


Deciding whether to train staff can be difficult because they’ll either stay or leave.

4. Make prudent investments

“What if we invest in our staff and they leave?”

“What if we don’t and they stay?”

It may seem counter-intuitive to invest in an asset that is going to leave the workplace but change is the norm, people will leave your workplace and skilled people will only be drawn to an intelligent one.


5. Create a sound foundation for making decisions

In the modern day and age this is primarily about big data. Do not give away your data away without getting anything back in return.

At the same time, have a look at the data generated from your workplace including staff productivity, your productivity, leverage factors, busiest times of day (or night) and so on.

It might be not be pretty graphs, but “Polished bullshit” is a term that describes the analysis made on crap data. So start from the right place.

What are your tips for surviving change?