Why is it that so many of us have difficulty in dealing with change? Not only is change inevitable, it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes that we have no control over. Resistance is logically futile, it is how we choose to view and deal with change that matters most.
The last year has taught me this. With more change on my plate than ever before it has been helpful to observe that the people who are best at handling change always focus on the positive, wider picture. They seem to understand that there are both short and long-term consequences for every period of transition. Both of which should be kept in mind, despite the way things may ‘feel.’
To me, mastering this understanding is one of life’s most important skill sets – the knack of successfully navigating change in a world that is so impermanent.
“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” – Eckhart Tolle
A LEGACY OF INNOVATION
When I got the news that my father had tragically and suddenly passed, everything in my world profoundly changed – and since that day, the ripple effect of his departure has continued to catalyze more change then I could have predicted.
As the intensity of my grieving begins to subside it is now becoming clear, that the cavernous space left by his departure, has become the very breeding ground for heart-warming growth and transformation.
On a personal level it has given rise to challenges and gifts a plenty, the sort that only 20/20 hindsight can appreciate as ‘moments for growth.’ What a blessing my father has been. This has become crystal clear in my now daily recognition of him, in me as the chief of this company.
SEEING THE LIGHT OF DAY
Brian Harper was intrinsically woven throughout the DNA of all aspects of the company. So determining the future of SEC in a post-Brian era meant an assessment and audit of the entire groups business holdings. The results of these reviews and their findings sewed the seeds of change – becoming the genesis of an enormous rebrand and more…
As a relative outsider it was perhaps easier for me to evaluate responses to customer feedback and customer criticism with respect to our service levels, our communications, and our market offering.
It became clear that despite the incredible foundation my father had built, there was room for improvement.
In my assessment of the brand I took the attitude that whatever was holding us back we’d be willing to rid without mercy. I felt that it was important that I told it like I found it with no rug sweeping.
A STRATEGY FOR CHANGE
Thus began the implementation of a new trading era strategy. A three phased, cross group, multi-million dollar upgrade and brand enhancement program.
SEC had built its reputation upon years of product and service reliability and some of these vital confidences had begun to be eroded. So we needed to upgrade and enhance our market position quickly.
I appreciate the ethos of Steve Jobs, who believed that the measurements and attributes of a company’s integrity – perhaps the most valuable of all brand currencies – are Dependability, Constancy and Trustworthiness.
Hence the re-birthing of SEC as a competitive global industrial power brand was guided by this mission statement:
“Anything that forms part of our Customer Experience — anywhere in the world — we will scrutinize in terms of its present day effectiveness and contribution to the company’s offerings and related integrity. No exceptions. Zero Tolerance.”
In this search for consistency a vital question was raised: How could we adapt to the world’s current styles and trends while still celebrating our history?
SEC has 40 years of heritage, and a key challenge has been how to capitalise on that narrative but maintain relevance. We needed to retain the culture and existing successes of the brand, while being sensitive to the new age in which we will live and the aspirations of this current generation. We needed to get a good perspective on what SEC stood for, versus what our target audience wants and is looking for.
SEC cannot escape the powerful forces that Globalisation, Social Media, and Climate Change are having on businesses today. These changes, coupled with the fact that our target audience is also morphing with the times, further highlights the necessity for us to move and adapt in a new direction.
TRANSFORMATION IN ACTION
One of the first steps was to identify the aspects of the group’s current business plan, associated operations, and marketing activities that were out of whack with the rest of what the market was saying. We needed to uncover deep-seeded brand values whilst collecting objective stakeholder feedback on how the company was experienced.
The process then required analytic and creative thinking. We had to reposition our brand platform to meet all our new business objectives, and most importantly, help the brand [re]connect with its audiences, and [re]inspire the waning buy in.
Throughout this process I fought hard to encourage a new doctrine: I was adamant we were fearless about bringing new solutions to the table. The very nature of Innovation involves risk, breaking boundaries, and thinking outside the box so let’s dare to go where other industrial energy brands have not. This innovative spirit is what will make SEC an exciting company to do business with.
The radical shift towards a new integrated SEC business model is ultimately a story of transformation — and by that, I mean genuine transformation, not some watered-down model, overstating the impact of incremental changes in various departments.
A fresh and sustainably integrated business has meant a complete re-design of all our business thinking and practices — from top to bottom.
It has involved us redefining our business purpose and strategy, re-engineering the business model (how we make money) and reconfiguring plus realigning our operations and supply chains, to ensure authentic delivery on our integrated business promises.
I have to share with you: what we are going through and what our board has committed to really does change everything. Once we set off down this road, there was no turning back. As the late great Ray Anderson used to put it, “Once you see, you can’t un-see.” SEC business will never be the same again!
“The Secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new.” -Socrates
IMPLEMENTATION ON EVERY LEVEL
The rebrand became a companywide initiative that was to touch every department. This has meant so much more than just new colours and a shiny new website. It has been the introduction and adoption of a new vision that needed to be accurately represented across all channels and touch points. From Sales & Marketing, to Product and R&D, right through to Logistics & Tech support. Each department needed to know and apply these values, critical missions, and goals of our new organization.
Our enhancement and upgrade program has been a meticulously engineered engagement across multiple departments. It has involved a calculated series of strategic moves to really capture hearts and minds not just those of our end consumers, but of our staff, suppliers and market partners too. This level of vertical integration was vital to create buy in of our new way of thinking.
Complex as it may sound, paring back to simplicity has been the key in solution finding. The brand has been given a visual makeover, revealing a fresh, clean logo and a new typeface so it appears more contemporary and sophisticated.
Of course, rebranding is much like an iceberg – our customers only get to see a small percentage of a mammoth undertaking. The crystal-clear external repositioning and seamless experience we are aiming for has been underpinned by exhaustive internal transformations.
I reiterate, we haven’t just changed our logos. In this last year we have gone to obsessive lengths to change the “SEC experience” – we have switched up our product and service offerings and are now quietly confident that in certain areas we will be setting new bench marks for industry leadership.
I started by highlighting how change can be viewed as difficult. I’ll add that it is very often messy in the middle, but I want to finish by saying it looks and feels gorgeous at the end. The re-purposing of our business skills and capabilities has not been a burden. In fact, across the group we agree, it’s been a very liberating experience.
As part of this ‘New Energy Era’ our planet is witnessing a moral evolution and everything is changing. Across the SEC Group ‘Innovation’ and ‘Transformation’ have become staple ingredients in our daily diet.
This diet has been matched with a thirst to do things differently and helped us to understand that the end goal of all of our clients is to want a better lifestyle at the least expense to the planet we live on.
The new SEC has a heart that beats with an intention to actively help them to achieve those goals. We will do it through our new and improved brand ideals, through better service and communication, and through a passion to embrace and adopt this exciting new era of change.