The “system” is not sacred

Everybody has heard the old phrase, “Doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results is the definition of insanity.”

Most of us think a certain way, exhibit specific behaviors, and hold certain beliefs to be self-evident. Even if we don’t want to admit it, most of us are actually quite close-minded, perhaps even stubbornly set in our ways.

The same goes for the organizations and institutions to which we belong. More often than not, the IRS is not the only group of people we deal with that are overtly stuck in their ways. Trade organizations, vendors, our clients, even myself… Everybody has specific ways that they see things and prefer to operate.

When something comes along that challenges our core beliefs, it is our natural tendency to resist that new idea. All of us have to deal with accepting change, and “change management” itself has become a buzzword component of many large corporate management programs and initiatives.

In order to be more successful, we have to evolve. We have to evolve our business practices, our thought processes, how we interact with clients, how we work cases, how we market to obtain new clients, and more.

Change is not always easy to swallow. For myself, adapting to social media and using it as part of my business has required a significant effort. While it was easy for me to adopt Facebook as a way to personally interact with friends and members of specific communities of which I am a part, doing the same thing in business has been difficult for me to accept. For instance, there exists a Tax Marketing HQ Facebook page, but it’s basically blank at this point, and it has only been the last month or so in which I have really become active on Twitter.

The reality is that the world is constantly changing, whether we are in tune with it or not. Technology obviously changes at a near daily pace, but cultural norms are constantly changing, also. For example, the upcoming generation of young people has been raised in a very different world than I grew up in, and with that comes different expectations about how they interact with the people and companies that provide them with services. During the next 5 to 10 years, those young people are going to be entering into their careers, starting businesses and families, etc. In other words, today’s kids will soon be our employees and clients, and we need to take into consideration the cultural differences brought about by this generation gap.

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If we apply the same old ways of doing things to a changing client demographic, we’re not going to last long in the marketplace. While we are comfortable in our own way of doing things within our tax practices, the fact of the matter is that there is likely a better way of doing almost everything that we currently do in our day to day operations. We may rely solely on one form of lead generation, such as telemarketing, but may soon be faced with a stiff legal prohibition against doing so. Having such a single point of failure in any business process, especially one as important as lead generation, is business suicide.

Seeking out better ways of doing things, adapting to changing technologies and changing demographic and cultural trends, and seeking new opportunities to business growth and efficiency all run contrary to our normal way of thinking. But embracing change, and actively participating in and bringing about the necessary changes in our practices allows us to stay ahead of the curve, and be a force for success within our practices and other areas of our lives.

If you comprehend this concept, and are looking for specific steps you can take to run your practice more efficiently, accelerate revenue growth, and incorporate change management as a guiding philosophy of your firm, I’d like to invite you to take a brief vacation to Hawaii. I’ll be holding a private workshop with up to five other tax resolution professionals to discuss these exact sorts of things, Nov. 4-5, 2012. There will be no charge for my time, no entry fee to attend the workshop, we’ll just split the cost of meeting space (although I’m starting to like the idea of just meeting on the beach). For complete details, see the tax resolution workshop page, and then just reply via email to express your interest in attending.

How are you incorporating change management into your tax practice? What are you doing to ensure that you remain competitive in a changing marketplace? What lead generation tactics are you adding to widen the points of entry into your sales funnel?