At CoreData we have recently embarked on a discipline of filling in timesheets correctly and submitting them by close of business on Friday every week. It’s a small but important change designed to improve operational efficiency. On the following Monday, those who failed to fill in and submit their timesheets on time are named and shamed.

While this has seen some staff embrace the change, it is not quite the case for others. The most common excuse is “it’s too hard”. Yes, change is hard, and this is a well-known phenomenon on which countless psychologists and non-psychologists alike have offered their views.

I am not a psychologist and I don’t claim to be an expert in this area. However, I believe one of the reasons change is typically placed in the “too hard” basket is because we try to bite off more than we can chew. Instead of filling in timesheets as we go, for example, we fill them in in one go at the end of the week. This may work for some, but it typically results in failure.

What does filling-in timesheets have to do with the financial services industry? As we all know, the financial services industry has been subjected to heavy scrutiny in the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services over the past few months.

Given the way things have been going, change in the industry is inevitable, particularly with a Federal Election on the cards in 2019. The issues uncovered and yet-to-be uncovered will no doubt require major changes from all of us as industry stakeholders – changes which are inherently scary.

Furthermore, if history has taught us anything, it is that the next financial crisis is a matter of when, not if. So how can we go through the change process successfully and emerge as a bigger and better industry that Australians trust and respect?

Recognising the need to change is the first step, followed by committing to change, followed by actually making small changes before tackling the big ones. The change process requires us to start somewhere, and instead of being focused on the big, hairy and audacious goals, we have to focus on small, realistic and specific goals. This may mean forming micro-habits – habits that are so small, there really is no excuse for not doing them.

Rather than saying “I’m going to start exercising,” it should be “I’m going to start jogging for 20 minutes after work tonight”. Rather than “I’m going to speak to my clients more”, it should be “I’m going to start spending an extra 20 minutes a day calling my clients”. Specific micro-habits will depend on our own circumstances, but I’m sure we’re all capable of thinking what these may look like.

Change in the industry is a must in order to restore consumer trust and ensure sustainable growth. Otherwise, we run the risk of becoming irrelevant or worse, going extinct. And if we all do our bit, no matter how small, just imagine how much we can all accomplish as a collective group. It may sound clichéd but change has to start small and it has to start with you.