The Dilemma of Delaying Change to Avoid Staff Pushback

March 25, 2019 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

In business, implementing change can be derailed by anything from a speed bump to a brick wall.

FACT: A business that resists or delays change is on the path to irrelevancy.

In the salon/spa industry, change of some sort is always a hot topic of discussion, but too many owners get cold feet when staff pushback thoughts clog their mental filters.

FACT: Too many owners delay or avoid change out of fear of losing busy service providers.

Yes, losing employees is a valid fear. It’s like the salon/spa industry has been cursed with staff walkouts and that “star” employee taking his or her loyal following down the street.

The financial devastation left behind can take months, even years, for a salon/spa to recover from.

The big question that all owners must ask themselves is:

What amazing things would I do for my company and my employees if the backlash of losing staff and cash flow wasn’t a factor?

The logical answer would be that owners would embrace change and take their companies farther and faster to greater success.

The “we need to change but may lose busy employees in the process” dilemma is real and serious.

Not changing means …

  • Becoming less competitive, tighter cash flow, and ultimately, less opportunity for owners, employees and clients.
  • Culture degrades, increased internal dysfunction, and can lead to eventual staff turnover.
  • Lower productivity, lower new client count and lower existing client retention.
  • Your salon/spa is less attractive to potential new hires.

So, if delaying or avoiding change creates the potential for all that not-good stuff, why not embrace change?

Here are my No-Compromise Leadership strategies to embrace, implement and make change stick:

  • Change needs a leader: Change pushes everyone out of their comfort zones. It’s supposed to. But the first person that needs to climb out of his or her comfort zone is the leader. The leader must be committed to the change and to seeing it through. Some change initiatives are fun. Some change is going to be stressful. And there will be those big changes that can be gut wrenching. But if that change is necessary for the wellbeing of the company, it’s the leader’s prime responsibility to lead the team through it to arrive at a better place.
  • Infrequent change makes changing difficult: If things rarely change at your salon/spa, it’s a sure bet that complacency and indifference has infected your culture. If all of a sudden you decide to fix things that should have been fixed long ago with new systems, procedures, or a well-deserved firing or two, expect staff resistance. Infrequent change, sometimes even the smallest change, can rock the boat pretty hard. No one is used to doing things differently. Regular refinement of systems and procedures is like keeping a high-performance engine well-tuned and oiled. It was running well, now it runs better. Incremental change keeps your salon/spa business running well and prepares it for the big change initiatives.
  • Can’t please everyone: You’ll never get any change initiative across the finish line if you’re trying to please everyone. That’s part of leadership. When change is done with integrity, respect and the best intentions to make things better, employees will follow. Some may not be wild about the change, but if they’re willing to get onboard and see it through, then lead it through. The next bullet point explains what to do if they can’t get onboard.
  • They were never onboard: If one or more employees are so against a change initiative that they quit and leave, they actually stopped being a team member long ago. Change has an amazing way of smoking out change resisters, attitude problems and employees that no longer care about your company. Let them go. Show them to the door and wish them well. Chances are, their departure is long overdue. If you allow a problem employee to stay simply because he or she brings in a lot of money, you’re compromising your company, your team and your culture in the worst way possible. Pull the weed out of your garden before it spreads.
  • Trust is a change essential: After 25+ years of doing Team-Based Pay conversions in salons/spas, the most pleasurable TBP conversions are the ones where trust exists between owners and employees. Yes, a TBP conversion can be a pleasurable experience. The opposite is true if trust has been broken or never existed. Because a TBP conversion is the biggest change initiative most owners will ever do, it’s the perfect example of how vital trust is to any change process.

Here’s my challenge to you: Embracing and initiating change takes courage and determination. Delaying and avoiding change is the equivalent of drilling holes in the bottom of ship and hoping the bilge pumps keep it afloat.

When leading a team of employees through change, I offer you the following insights:

  • Volatility yields to Vision: Vision brings clarity to why change is happening and what the destination is.
  • Uncertainty yields to Understanding: Employees can’t embrace and support what they don’t understand. Fill in the blanks so they can see the entire picture.
  • Complexity yields to Clarity: Some change can be overwhelming. Define the steps, procedures, responsibilities, timelines, measurables and expectations. The first tenet of No-Compromise Leadership is to have absolute clarity where you’re taking your company. You can’t deliver clarity until you have it yourself.

Ambiguity yields to Agility: Prepare your team for success. Make sure they have the tools and training to get the change initiative across the finish line. The more ambiguity there is, the more bad assumptions and mistakes are made. Agility is about preparation.

Categories: Leadership , Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. It’s something everyone should be extremely concerned about. I lost my salon. I had cancer, while out receiving chemo my staff compiled all the names of customers and rented a salon suite down the street. When I returned the all walked out. I had to close down after 2 months. I lost everything. Nice people?


Get your free coaching call now!


Need help with choosing a membership?
Fill out this form!