Embracing change in business
Thursday, September 04, 2014
Regardless of industry or title, the one thing we all have to understand is the nature of change. In government, defense and law enforcement, sometimes it feels that change happens too slowly and we blame the bureaucracy and red tape. Oddly though, if something big happens externally, somehow our previously bureaucratic organizations seem to be able to respond quickly with new initiatives.
Conversely, in the private sector, waves of words like entrepreneurial and innovation have inspired our CEOs to want organization cultures that support and even create change. Change can originate externally and internally, on an individual or organization wide scale. What skills and characteristics can we learn or embrace to be ready of the many faces of change?
David Berry, who honed his skills developing the teams at Taylor Made, equips leaders to be ready for change. I had the good fortune of participating in one of his mini-workshops in a small group setting. Like Berry, the conversation was inspiring, but more importantly, the leaders in the room — from a variety of industries and organization sizes — left with action steps they could implement immediately. Here are some highlights you can begin to use now to help you embrace a few different types of change.
The problem with stability
When it comes to implementing change, consider the difference between a rut and a routine. A routine can ensure efficiency but a fine line exists between being efficient and being stuck. Comfort can be detrimental. Take time regularly to review the things you think do not need reviewing; the habits you have had for a while and the practices that are inherent to the system. What impact will a tweak have? How about an overhaul? Opening up basic or routine processes for consideration can yield additional options for implementing change.
Catalysts and martyrs
Leading change can be a challenge. Berry made a great contrast between catalysts and martyrs. Are you the champion already embracing change wondering why no one is joining you out there on the ledge? Are you constantly trying to drag others to you? Consider coming from a different place: Act as a catalyst for change instead. Be with the people you want to change, talk to them about the change and inspire them to lead the way. Listen to what they have to say and use that to help them take those first steps down the new path. In addition to leading more effectively, you can also reap the benefit of creating space for suggestions and ideas from the team that may not have come out while you were dragging them behind you.
Past performance does not indicate future results
Change is constant and many organizations go through cycles of change. While it is good to learn from history, it is important to understand that with each cycle, times have changed and solutions must reflect the current environment. Once you understand the specifics of the last time it seemed you were in this situation, take a look at the differences in the environment now. From where you sit in the organization, what do you see? What is working? Who is doing the related tasks now? Talk to them and find out their thoughts. There are multiple resources available to you to make a decision on how to implement a response to change, do not just look at what you did before, even if it worked spectacularly.
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