Ajaz Ahmed: Bosses need to know change never sleeps

Ajaz Ahmed is the founder of Freeserve.

HAS the tipping point arrived? For example, Freeserve launched in 1998, and the internet boom started. For years people talked about e-commerce, but nothing happened. Smug people said “I told you so”. Then, a few years later than expected, Amazon finally arrived, and the e-commerce boom really started.

Then people said e-commerce would have a big effect on our high streets, but still nothing happened. The same smug people said “I told you so”. Later than expected, things have now changed, 
and our high streets are a lot quieter 
than before.

So, the big question is: Has the 
tipping point finally arrived?

When the internet first arrived, we only used it to surf the internet, we didn’t buy or sell anything on the internet. Mobile phones were only used to make phone calls, we only took our phones out of our pockets when they rang.

Now I’m in a panic when I can’t feel my smartphone in my pocket.

My smartphone tells me everything. Companies are only limited by their imagination, every time I pay for a pasty in Greggs using ApplePay, I have a smile on my face, it’s absolutely fantastic.

It’s not just about the internet. All my life I’ve heard smart, intelligent people say the words “It’ll never happen”. What won’t happen? Anything that a smart, or higher-ranked person says won’t happen. Every day I read about things that are now happening, things that people previously thought would never happen.

Businesses don’t “pivot”, they need to constantly keep changing. Lots of businesses only change after they have problems. Read the Press and every day there are stories about companies that are going through change because their customers have abandoned them. Don’t they understand? Customers don’t say goodbye. They just go.

Apple stores are still busy because they go through a pivot when customers are still spending money with them. Our managing directors don’t understand this rule.

Guess what? Change is happening, and this is just the start. Managing directors are still saying “It’ll never happen, it’s not going to affect my business, we’ve been here for many years”.

The problem with a lot highly-paid people is, every month, they’ve got lots of money left over after they’ve paid their bills and mortgage.

They don’t understand that every month their customers have no money left over. They lack empathy, they can’t feel what their customers feel because they’re doing okay.

Why do managing directors not listen when someone offers them some free advice? Because they like to interpret facts to confirm the beliefs they already have. Confirmation bias is when we interpret information in a way that confirms the bias we already have.

They don’t want someone else telling them what to do. They only want to look at information that confirms what they already believe. They like to ignore or simply not be exposed to information 
or opinions that challenge what they already believe.

Even when they take the brave step off exposing themselves to an alternative point of view, it may still be confirmation bias because they still want to confirm that the opposition is, indeed, wrong. They start an argument about why you are wrong.

Even as you are reading this, people will be coming up with reasons why I 
am wrong.

Does any of this sound familiar? So, don’t argue, start to listen before it’s too late for your business.

Ajaz Ahmed is the founder of Freeserve.

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