Jack Welch said it best – “change before you have to”. Adapting to change becomes a competitive advantage when you are the first one to embrace the new reality. Changing before the need arise means having all the time to roll out new products or services or being the first one to have a system that works with the new “rules”. Doing good business while your competitors are still struggling with antiquated processes can get you ahead in business, big time!
What is the secret to maximizing change to your advantage?
Accept the inevitability of change
Many entrepreneurs are wasting so much time and emotions in resisting change. Accept change and steer clear from unnecessary frustrations. Change is not new. But the pace of these changes has picked up in the past decade or so. Not knowing how to deal with it can lead to business failure.
The secret to adapting fast is having the ability to see the gap between where your business is right now and where it should be. Listening to your customers and industry leaders can get you in tuned to unfolding trends. So there is a gap, what’s next? What needs to be done? Asking the right, often difficult questions, is the ideal starting point of change management. This is why curious business leaders are very important. They are often the ones who steer the organization clear from business roadblocks.
To summarize – be mindful of your business and the industry you are in, anticipate the gaps, ask difficult questions and when you have the answers, be decisive and change course!
Granted that the need to change is uncovered, what is the next step? The needed change must be communicated to every employee in the organization. The burden of change must be carried by everyone. Transitions are never easy so everybody must be on board.
The key to communication are the leaders. Why? Leaders can contextualize the needed changes and sync it with the inner workings of their teams. While the needed change is huge, leaders can make it relevant to the teams by explaining their specific role in the undertaking. The teams must have a clear picture of what success looks like. They must understand what’s in it for them.
Plan for success
Before change can be rolled out, a clear plan must be made. With the gaps identified and the ideals cleared out, what are the needed actions to get from here to there?
The plan will clarify the “how” of the needed transition. The clearer the plan, the better the organization can implement the changes.
One of the most important element in change management is metrics. Having a plan is simply not enough. The plan’s progress must be measurable. Everyone in the organization must know if they are succeeding in their efforts towards change or not.
Is everybody following the same timeline? Numbers never lie and having the means to measure the completion of a plan is as important as the plan itself.
Change is uncomfortable, the very reason why many entrepreneurs shun it. But it is necessary. The rule of business has changed. It is not the big that beats the small, but the fast that beats the slow. Businesses that are adept to change stack the odds in their favour. Hungry for success? Be ready to tackle changes.