Paying for Poor Performance: The Costs of Avoiding Change

Why would we ever “manage”, “accept the status quo”, or “make-do” if we are the paying customer?

Sounds irrational – yet it ends up happening to most of us. For example, think of a time where you made a major purchase or changed service providers and didn’t love the result…

Maybe you switched cell phone providers and got swamped by hidden fees.  Or went with a new insurance company and discovered that the great customer service disappeared as soon as you signed on.

With that experience front of mind; how long did you wait until you switched back to your old company – or found a better one?  If you are like most people – the answer is a very long time (if ever).

Obviously, there are no universal truths – but MOST OF US DON’T LOVE CHANGE.

We’re reluctant to make a change in the first place.   And once we integrate a change into our lives we have an incredible ability to quickly adapt to the new norm.  (Even if the new norm isn’t great.)

There’s lots of science that seeks to explain this quirk of human behavior – including fields of study dedicated to behavioral and organizational change, and of course, behavioral economics (a favorite topic around here).

The key takeaway is this:  for most of us, the pain of the status quo has to be greater than the anticipated pain of making a change before we will do anything about it.

And to add to that – people have a pretty amazing ability to get through painful stuff and wipe it from our minds quickly thereafter.  We also have a gift for thinking of (or “anticipating”) all the things that might go wrong or might keep us from making a change.

We see these challenges of change often in our industry.

Sometimes it’s organizations who stick with Excel for years.  Despite the pain of budgeting “season” (consolidating spreadsheets, fixing broken formulas, and the opportunity cost of wasted time) these teams go right back to business as usual when the final budget is approved.  With a rinse and repeat the following year.

Sometimes it’s organizations who have a budgeting software in place that just isn’t working for them.  We run into these finance executives at events, and we hear the same thing, time and again:

  • It’s a year later and we’re still working through the implementation…
  • It’s fine. We’re trudging right along.
  • We had to buy some additional modules – we’ll see if that helps.
Honestly, we just think that is all wrong.

Not because we think our solution is the right fit for everyone.  But because we think technology has advanced to the point where any investment (in resources and time) into a new software solution should make your job significantly easier.  Period.  End of story.  It shouldn’t be the same or status quo – and it definitely shouldn’t be harder.

Please don’t let the anticipation of the potential pain of a change (the idea of another evaluation and review, buying cycle, or implementation process) get in the way of a better outcome for your employees and your financial bottom line.

Check out our resource to help financial executives who find themselves at a decision point.

This budgeting brief When is the right time to move to a purpose-built budgeting solution – and why?” provides helpful organizational checklists and questions to ask yourself and your team to help determine if it’s time to make a change.  Click here to download it now.

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