Change is all around us. In fact, we are always surrounded by change - the seasons, the traffic, the economy. We, ourselves, are also always changing. We age, grow fat or thin, get sick, get well and learn new things.
Because we are constantly dealing with - or trying to manage - change, some people believe we should all embrace change as a good thing. Change is good, a politician might say. If you don't change, you die, a businessman might say. But change is never that simple.
Case in point: the relocation of the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles. When Walter O'Malley moved the Dodgers to the West Coast in the late 1950s, it turned out to be a financial windfall for the baseball team and the city.
But it wasn't so good for many Spanish-speaking residents of Chÿvez Ravine, where Dodgers Stadium was built. They had to move out of their homes - sometimes by force - to make way for the stadium's construction. It wasn't a happy occurrence for those who wanted to stay. Perhaps if you were one of those individuals displaced from Chÿvez Ravine or you knew someone that was, you might not be a Dodger fan today.
And that is the nature of change itself - an unceasing teeter-totter of winners and losers, successes and failures, fortunes won and lost, lives uplifted and lives destroyed. That's why the decision to make a change in your professional or personal life should be undertaken with seriousness and introspection.
Maybe you are a top performing merchant level salesperson working for an ISO that has been hit hard by the recession. Since you are a talented sales rep, you might be tempted to take your services elsewhere. But any change that you make will affect others.
Will it be the final straw that sinks the ISO? Will a co-worker or two have to be laid off to compensate for the lost revenue you once brought in? Or will they have to work harder, longer hours? And how will the merchants in your portfolio be affected? Obviously, you have to take care of yourself and your family first, but you might consider how your move will involve the ISO and its employees before you abandon ship.
When it comes to the health and well-being of your organization, change should be made with great care as well. The consequences of changing processors or product offerings can be far reaching. If you jump from a stable processor to one that offers cheaper services, you may be reducing costs at the expense of reliability.
Similarly, the enticing bells and whistles of new data security software should be tempered with how merchants might respond if that new software fails to protect the company from a breach. One wrong move and your merchants might bail on you.
One way people sabotage themselves is by making life-altering decisions when they're angry or just plain tired. Having a blow-up with your boss and quitting on the spot is not a prudent modus operandi. Even if you do quit due to disagreements with higher ups, it may be wise to make that decision after rationally weighing all your options first. Being in this economy without a paycheck can be perilous.
Decisions made when you're mentally fatigued can lead to unsatisfactory or even disastrous results. A clouded mind leads to faulty judgment. Consummating a deal on five hours' sleep might lead to lawyers telling you to read the fine print more carefully next time.
Change undertaken with a clear head and calm demeanor is more likely to be the correct course of action.
In the payments industry change progresses at a speed like no other. Where the insurance and medical industries evolve and adapt at a glacial pace, our industry races along in comparison, remaking itself at light speed.
That speed is out of necessity. It is vital that payment professionals and organizations evolve to meet security challenges and provide merchants with the latest and best value-added services. But change for change's sake, or change that is quickly enacted without proper forethought, is rarely if ever the answer.
When you recognize that a change is necessary, identify the underlying problem and determine how best to approach it and ultimately solve it. Take into consideration how this change will affect your life and the lives of others. Consult with friends and trusted advisors to glean their opinions on how to proceed.
When you have examined and addressed all these aspects to the best of your ability, you may conclude that making a change is not in your best interests. Standing pat might be the smartest move you make.
But if you realize that change is necessary for survival and prosperity, then as Americans are fond of saying, "Go for it!"
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