Hate change? Read this.

bt“You get an ology….you’re a scientist ”


Some adverts enter the language, and sometimes last there long after the product they were plugging has dropped the campaign.


The BT ology ad featured Maureen Lipman as a grandmother, told by her grandson over the phone, (incidentally played by Josh Krichefski’s brother by the way), that he flunked his exams, passing only pottery and sociology. (The ad featured in Lindsey Clay’s survey of the portrayal of women in advertising over the last 50 years in the UK here).


The BT ad was to encourage people to use the phone more, not to drive market share as this wasn’t an issue in the 1980s. Driving more use of the phone these days – hardly a requirement of any telecoms provider today – haven’t times changed?


Most of us use our phones unimaginably more frequently than the admen at JWT could have thought in 1987.


This is a change that most of us have taken to happily. There’s other changes around that can take more getting used to, such as the rise of the robots in customer service or AI’s impact on retail.


Maureen Lipman also has had a long career as a comedian. In one of her stand up routines she described how after borrowing her dad’s car for a week she got back into her own car and discovers it just wouldn’t go properly. She called the car rescue services, waited 2 hours for them to turn up. When the chap from the AA arrived, he started the car and drove it round the block. It was perfectly ok. It was simply that her dad’s car was an automatic and after only a week of driving it, she’d forgotten how to drive a geared car. She just couldn’t work it out. Even though she’d been driving one for a decade.


There’s a lesson in this for everyone who’s is change averse – and many people hate the idea of any change that they aren’t in control of, and haven’t chosen.


Firstly that you can get used to a change ridiculously quickly. There’s a world of difference between an innovation that we take to like a duck to water (such as checking phones dozens or hundreds of times a day), and those that feel alien. When a change in work practices is mandated, or becomes inevitable in your business, then it’s good to remember that some change may feel so instinctive that a week in, you won’t remember what work was like before.


Secondly that you can’t really buy into any change until you fully understand what it means specifically for you. So if you’re in a company meeting where the new vision is being presented and you’re just not feeling inspired, don’t worry.


Don’t expect to love the change till you can feel and see what it means for you in detail personally. And give it a go, it might just be the new way forward you’ve been missing, just as much as you’d miss your mobile phone.


Comments are closed.