Last night I was channel surfing and I caught a show called “Save My Bakery”
In this episode a bakery that had been in one family for over 4 generations was facing the reality that they may have to close their doors forever.
The owners were up the creek without so much as a paddle.
Having remortgaged their house, dipped into their pension funds and even had to borrow from their two young daughters, they were up to their ears in debt.
They couldn’t afford to pay full time staff, so hired a part time cashier whilst the rest of the workload was undertaken by their daughters and a family friend.
In the past the bakery had enjoyed great success. It had a rich heritage and good reputation.
All their baked goods were made from scratch on site using fresh ingredients and they had a few house items they were famous for.
Things began to change following a relocation from the centre of town to the outskirts into a bigger facility.
Footfall had dried up. Where customers once queued up they now just drove past.
Under mounting pressure the owners pulled back on everything and just played it safe. They had programmed themselves to believe that change was a bad idea and they should just stick to what they know.
The trouble was that the world around them had changed. Customers wanted different things, they wanted more creative creations, colours and exotic flavours.
How would they find a way through?
The answers were right in front of them.
You see, that part time cashier happened to be a talented cake maker. She would made fondant cakes to order and was incredibly creative. Unfortunately the owners, in their fear driven mindset, only saw her function as serving customers.
Similarly, their owners daughters were also talented bakers. They had great ideas and new inventions for customers to try but their ideas fell on the deaf ears of their parents who insisted they knew much better.
The adopted strategy was to get heads down and minimise risk in the hope that things would come good. All the responsibility was shouldered by the owners and whilst that was admirable it was also stupid as they had talented people who could and wanted to help him right at their finger tips.
This bakery was in need of drastic change and thankfully it got it with the help of the show’s expert.
Eventually the owner opened up and saw the light. He allowed the girls and the cashier to make some simple changes and implement the much needed ideas which transformed this once tired old bakery into a vibrant, fresh and modern store.
This situation is not unique to this business or the people involved.
Everyday, people who are faced with problems or tough situations close themselves off from the world not realising that there talented people all around them who could help.
They just need to open their eyes and accept that something needs to change.
It’s often our fear of change which prevents us from listening to new ideas and keeps us stuck where we are.
I’m not saying that all change is good and that it will always lead to success. What I am saying is that without change there is never the opportunity for improvement.
Here are 5 ways in which you can avoid this pain :
#1 Taste Success Don’t Swallow it.
Holding on to past success is almost as bad as holding on to past failures. If you are too self indulgent in your past glories then you might not notice that the world around you is changing.
Enjoy the moment, celebrate and now move on.
#2 Share your pains.
Keeping your challenges to yourself is not going to help anyone, least of all you. Learn to be open about the challenges and invite ideas from people you trust on how you can improve and change.
#3 Don’t go all in.
This isn’t Vegas, so you don’t have to go all or nothing to win big. Not all change will be successful so adopt a test and learn approach. Try your new ideas on small group of customers and monitor the results. Make the changes you need, test again before going for an all out implementation.
#4 Learn about the people around you.
We all have hidden talents. You won’t ever really know the real skills you have within your team or network if you don’t take the time to really get to know people. Try including ice-breakers in meetings to get people to share more about themselves.
#5 Give them permission.
A team of talented, creative people buzzing with ideas is useless if they have to constantly wait for permission to try something out. Create an environment where people know it’s ok to try new ideas and give them a clear framework to work within so that they don’t unwittingly break important rules.