“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Semisonic
Have you ever had that moment when you just cannot figure something out, but then out of nowhere some sort of revelation hits you and it all just connects? It turns out that there is an official neurological term for the abrupt instance of clarity called the eureka effect; however, most people that are not neurologically inclined – myself included – just refer to it as an “aha” moment. All this is relevant because the imaging channel just recently had one of those “aha” moments that sheds light on something very important.
The moment happened when I was listening to a song and contemplated the concept of change, which is not as difficult as those who make it out to be some byproduct of an unimaginable miracle. Quite simply, if you really take the time to ponder the word and its impact, it can be remarkable what sort of thought process you find yourself in. From my point-of-view, there are three different connotations of change – positive, negative, and deceptive.
Positive change is one that has been built upon the framework of the imaging channel. For the industry to be what it is today, change was necessary from technological and operational perspectives. Think about what product catalogues would have looked like in the ’70s and ’80s along with the processes and workflows of dealerships from decades ago. Now compare that to modern business practices so many organizations have put in place to remain relevant, grow and succeed. Of course, comparing such extremities from either side of the imaging spectrum seems comical but then again, those who refused positive change are not the ones smiling today.
Then there is this bleak shroud of uncertainty that can make people gasp at the very thought of it – welcome to “negative” change. Somewhere along the road of innovation, this false pretense was conceived because it is viewed as challenging. Keeping that in mind, it would be completely ignorant to disregard the uncertainties that attach themselves to change; however, not accepting it because it is too hard or because it is not what is accustomed to will not pass as valid excuses to deflect change management. Change perceived in a negative light is nothing more than another form of complacency exercised in the channel. Dealerships would not even dare try selling an obsolete product, so why would they continue to use software that is antiquated with three limbs in the grave? “Negative” change hinders innovation, gives rise to complacency, and creates limits in an otherwise limitless environment.
When someone says something that sounds too good to be true and then it eventually ends up being too good to be true leads us into the introduction of what I call deceptive change. This usually comes about when the whole “keep calm, everything is fine even though everything is not fine” routine gets put into practice as a means of preventing chaos erupting from the public sector. It stems from precarious situations, ones that lack something very important – stability. Without stability, positive change would not exist; thus, the void leaves behind nothing but empty promises. There must be some dynamic constant that can distinguish positive change from its deceptive nature. Stability is what differentiates a successful change implementation from a failed one.
Whether people like it or not, change is something that has happened, is currently happening and will continue to happen. Just considering the industry as a whole, it is a rapid climate enveloped in an environment of change. The positive can be clearly identified through the adoption of technological innovation as the imaging channel is disrupted by digital transformation. Then there is still the temptation of complacency – the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality – where the choice has to be considered if the risk of being behind the curve is really worth it. What follows is the unfortunate circumstance where deceptive change has polluted the industry. Promised change has led to more promised change on more than a few occasions. Instead of opening opportunities for action, some have turned their backs on the industry in an irresponsible manner.
Well, that irresponsibility stops today. Change is an inevitable factor that will never go away and there is no disputing it; therefore, it becomes our job to adopt and adapt change by leveraging it for the greater good of the dealership community. I stand firm in my confidence that the future vision of the imaging channel is one of greater strength and proliferation.
Before now, the industry was not properly equipped to handle digital disruption because some have indirectly told dealers that it is the last call before closing time, but I beg to differ. There is no closing time for imaging channel, because Semisonic sang it perfectly, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
To the industry, embrace the change, we have only just begun.