Through the Woods: Overcoming Those Darn Thorns of Change!

Christine Mykota

The prospect of introducing change to an organization can be prickly. What if the modification backfires? What if it stings and is difficult to implement? What if an adjustment is messy or impossible?

While technological change is present in virtually everything we do – from purchasing gifts to buying groceries to navigating through a forest – few people realize how integrated technological change is with personal change, kinda like nature is with people, but I digress.

To adapt to technological advancements, we’re forced to grapple with tough personal obstacles. In fact, every great founder and company has had an experience where they had to abandon a personal roadblock to achieve technological success. Here are five examples of businesses that have coped particularly well.

1. Conversion Cake

As humans, we are naturally resistant to change. And there’s a good reason for this. In ancient times, change was implicitly dangerous for people. It often meant hunger, conflict, extreme weather, or death, so people went out of their way to avoid it.

While few of us are in imminent danger, this deep-rooted resistance to change remains. Unfortunately, if we are going to adopt technological change, we need to overcome this innate barrier of resistance.

Take, for example, Conversion Cake. The company’s founder, Kyle Gray, was forced to overcome resistance to the idea of change to believe that he could, in fact, start a business. Working against the idea of change is illogical for us, so believing, taking a leap of faith, if you will, is key to get started. Maybe some simple visualization to get started? Dreaming of the lifestyle when the startup is sold for millions, for example.

2. Househappy

Like resistance, fear is also a human experience that can be traced back to ancient times. Today, however, fear serves few functions but to hold us back from greatness. Consider Ekaterina Walter, the CMO of Househappy, who learned to overcome fear by shifting her perspective enough to see perceived failures and detours as opportunities.

While overcoming this hurdle has the potential to influence many areas of our lives, it’s most obvious in the adoption of technological change, where it serves to help us reach out and touch technology to see what it can do for our companies and our lives. To overcome fear, it takes a bit of willpower, but mapping pros and cons can help as well, both personally and professionally.

3. Netscape

When it comes to new technology, one of the biggest personal challenges many people face is perspective. While it’s easy to adopt technology when approaching it from an optimistic and open perspective, far too many managers go the other way, toward resistance and fear, which influences their views and tells them “this is dangerous.”

In technology, as in life, this is a risky approach. Perspective colors everything, and managers who fail to alter theirs enough to be open to technological change will thrive. Consider Marc Andreessen, the legendary venture capitalist and co-founder of Netscape, who advises “strong opinions, loosely held,” meaning that, while it’s valuable to have a perspective, you also need to change it when the times demand it.

4. AudienceBloom

When Jayson DeMers founded AudienceBloom, things went beautifully for a few years. That is, until he became distracted by the technological promise of another startup he was working with. Because of this, AudienceBloom suffered, and DeMers had to refocus his attention in order to get back on track.

While the world of technological change is ripe with distraction, it’s critical to overcome this hurdle both personally and professionally in order to stay on track and continue working toward our highest goals. Follow the dream, stay the course, keep focused.

5. Contently

Humans were never meant to be solitary creatures. Founders like Shane Snow know this. Snow, the co-founder of Contently, found out that running a successful company means working as a team, both with other people and with technological platforms available to you.

By overcoming solitude in your business and personal endeavors, you train yourself to work closely with technology, thus accepting all of the benefit technological change has to offer.

While technological change can be difficult to stomach, it is critical for companies and business owners to adapt. Fortunately, overcoming our personal obstacles, such as our natural resistance to change, fear, and distractions, is an effective way to embrace the world of technological change and to thrive within it as others before you.

For most organizations, it’s no longer a matter of whether to adopt a digital business model but how to do it and survive. Learn 4 Ways to Digitally Disrupt Your Business Without Destroying It.

About Christine Mykota

Christine is a Sr. Director, Marketing, Global Channels and General Business at SAP where she leads the Digital and Social Media strategy for SMB and partners in NA. She has over 25 years in marketing beginning her career in international busines, s consulting to SMB's helping them expand their markets around the globe. She has also taught at colleges and universities in Canada,Malaysia, Kyghystan and Ukraine. She has led various workshops on strategic planning, marketing research and entrepreneurship. She has contributed to 5 international business publications and was one of five Canadians awarded for her international work. She has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs secure funds for their ventures as well as fine tune their business plans. Christine began her career in software over 15 years ago with companies large and small such as Autodesk, Business Objects and SAP and rising stars. She has worked with many Fortune 500 companies, many of which are partners of SAP. In her spare time she has many passions both active and creative.