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Change Is Hard, But Necessary |  November 09, 2016 (0 comments)


Miami, FL--Ok, for those that truly know me, they will think I have lost my mind! But I’m getting older and with that comes a little more calmness (a little) and some spirituality. (Don’t push it, ok?) One thing I know right now is change is inevitable so I have a new way of looking at change: a little spiritual, with a touch of philosophy. It works for me, so let’s give it a try.

Like I said, change is hard. It's fall, so I am going to take some cues from Mother Nature. I hope this helps you too.

One of the most challenging things about designing for change is that it often feels counterintuitive. Unnatural, even. That’s because we have to let go of something that has always worked in order to grasp something new with both hands.

This is especially true with a process change. And in this case, and for most of us, we’ve stuck with, "if it ain’t broken, why fix it?” This can have dire consequences in today’s world. Picture a journalist trying to release a breaking story by telegraph. Really? Or by snail mail when everyone else is exploding their story on the Internet! Think of a cardiologist ignoring new techniques because the ones from five years ago seemed to work fine. This is an “epic fail” and time to find a new doctor!

The same is true for jewelers that need to make some changes to keep up with their market, whether that’s adding e-commerce, bringing in lower or higher-priced lines or a different design aesthetic to their merchandise, getting more active on social media, or anything that’s outside their comfort zone.

Mother Nature offers proof that sometimes we must intentionally throw out the old so that something new and better can take its place. Some crabs can regenerate new claws. Both male and female Caribou annually drop their antlers to grow new ones. But bulls only shed after mating season and pregnant cows only after they have given birth. So nature has designed it so that the periods of vulnerability that comes with change only happen when risk is minimalized. This makes sense to me!

Heading into fall (even though I am in South Florida) I love it when the leaves start to change colors. You don’t need to understand the science in order to appreciate the explosion of vibrant hues that autumn brings.

As a bonus, the fall color change offers us a perfect lesson in design. As summer ends and autumn comes, the days get shorter and shorter. This is how the trees instinctively begin getting ready for winter.

Trees use sunlight to make their food. As the days grow shorter, the trees automatically use what they have stored to make it through the winter. So they close their veins that carry Chlorophyll… that beautiful green stuff and we begin to see the other brilliant colors that were stored in the leaf all along! When the seal is complete, the leaf drops to the ground. Then that leaf becomes food for the soil that is essential to the whole eco system. In the spring, healthy new leaves grow in place of the old ones.

So here is the moral to this whole story: the next time you are designing a solution, take a page from nature. Consider the evolution of your process. Anticipate the inevitable drivers of change and be willing to shed as needed to make room for new growth. Even better, design your solution so that when it’s no longer useful, it goes out with a burst of color!

Learning to appreciate the beauty of change makes it a lot easier to do. --Andie

Andie Weinman, president and CEO of Preferred Jewelers International / Continental Buying Group Inc., was born with the “Jewelry Gene” working in the jewelry industry since she was only ten years old. Her first job was as a cashier in the opening of a catalog showroom doing a fantastic job even at that tender age. Andie holds a B.A. in musical theatre and a B.S. in marine biology from The University of Tampa. When she realized that seawater and marine biology were not good on her hair and she wasn’t quite good enough to make it on Broadway, the jewelry business beckoned. Andie has picked diamonds, sorted color stones, shot waxes and performed a multitude of jobs in the manufacturing of jewelry.  Her negotiating experience and prowess has given her the reputation as being tough but fair in her dealings with vendors. In 2012 the Indian Diamond and Color Association awarded Andie the Prestigious Doyenne Award of the Year.

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