I seem to be writing and talking about change so much that I have found myself humming the chorus of David Bowie’s song, “Changes”. Sadly, for those around me, not always in tune!
Last week we woke up to significant change as the Conservative party landed a 78-seat majority. Whether we personally embrace this result or not, there is no doubt that with us now likely to leave the EU, we will all experience significant changes over the coming years.
The key for all of us is to adapt to this changing landscape, although it is possible to influence thinking as 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, the Swedish environmental activist, has demonstrated. Impressive!
We can’t all have the impact of a Greta Thunberg though, but we can still influence what’s going on around us by our behaviours and how we live our lives. There is no doubt that there is real momentum now on climate change, and personally I find it fulfilling to be ‘doing my bit’ around reducing my use of plastics and recycling more (although I have to say, my wife is always reminding me of how I could be so much better!). My point is that we could just sit back and moan about what’s happening, or do something which has a positive impact.
This applies to most change. Whilst there will be negatives to deal with, there are invariably positive things emanating from change. It’s also important not to worry about what you cannot control. Instead, I always believe we should direct our energy towards something we can influence.
One of the problems is that news, opinions and hysteria travel much quicker in our modern society than they ever have done ever before. It is easy to form opinions or have a view which may be skewed, and not particularly relevant, to your own personal situation; yet it can cause considerable anxiety.
This has been evident in recent meetings I’ve had with clients where they have been worrying about changes in dynamics. One situation concerned redundancy, but the reality was that this change in circumstances proved to be a gateway for new opportunities – once we sat down and explored the possibilities! Another was where a job promotion caused anxiety around restricted pension contributions. It wasn’t a problem as such when we encouraged the client to think differently and use other alternatives.
Then there was the new client who was so concerned about the possibility of a changing tax regime that they had convinced themselves that they needed to emigrate. Until, that is, we were able to show them how they could manage their wealth better and reduce their future tax liabilities. They had really got themselves into a spin!
As a business owner, I’m used to change – especially being in the financial services sector. Some changes are very welcome, and some are frankly ridiculous. It’s no good however me bemoaning my lot and using energy to fuel even more anxiety. Better that I sit down with my team and evaluate the situation, working out how to navigate any changes whilst exploring possibilities… before becoming excited as to how we can improve our proposition.
So, let’s not be scared of change. Let’s embrace it whilst remembering that we all have the opportunity to influence what goes on around us!
Gary Neild B.Sc.Hons. DipIP PFA
P.S. The winner of our Christmas Hamper, for great feedback on how we could improve our use of technology to enhance our proposition was Ian Marshall. Thanks Ian!