They say the only constant in life is change. And like most clever sayings, this one is also very true. Especially when it comes to your business.
Today’s pace of change is faster than it’s ever been before. But here’s the kicker. It’s also the slowest it will ever be again. Just think about that for a second.
When it comes to change, you have three basic choices:
- Bury your head in the sand
- Wait for it to find you, and then react
- Get out in front of it and take control
Chances are we all know people and companies who have gone with option one— and how well that went. And yet plenty of people and organizations are all too willing to ignore impending change, or to embrace a strategy that is purely reactionary.
If you run a business, this strategy isn’t going to help you achieve your goals. You need a better plan. Here are some key ways to help you deal with the organizational change that will inevitably come your way.
Pay attention to it
This means more than just pulling your head out of the sand.
If you want to make change work for you, start by tuning in to what’s happening around you. Then, you can adjust your thinking, planning, and vision to match. Your goal is to be proactive about defining and creating your new reality instead of waiting for these changes to be forced upon you.
To decide what the new future will look like, ask yourself this question:
Based on what’s happening with our business/market/industry/technology, what critical elements do we need to put in place to set our organization up for success?
Addressing this question will help make sure you’re able to ride the waves of change instead of helplessly watching them roll in and hoping they will spare you.
To make effective changes in your business, you’ll want to evaluate the following:
- Company profitability
- Organizational growth
- Your core value proposition
- Your marketing and sales process
- The skills and behaviors on the team
- What resources you need to be successful
- And perhaps many other elements of your organization
The key here is that you (and your entire team) will need to understand how the organization has to evolve in order to remain relevant and viable.
Simply defining your new future isn’t going to cut it. You have to commit to making it happen.
Way too often when a change initiative is introduced, the team simply smiles and rolls their eyes, quietly understanding that nothing ever really comes from these things.
And while it’s tempting to blame this lack of action on bad attitudes, the truth is that often it’s leadership who has trained everyone to react this way. They’ve done this by not committing to past initiatives, by sidestepping difficult work and decisions, and by neglecting to follow through on critical things that should have happened as a result.
In addition to creating your new vision, you will need to follow through with implementation. This step will involve some key pieces:
- Communication – Take the time to explain why the change is necessary and how it will be addressed.
- Planning – Establish and share a formal strategy for how you will move from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow.
- Execution – Make sure everyone understands not just how they will be impacted, but also how they will be expected to contribute.
- Evaluation and adjustment – Report back to the team on all of the above. Track your progress and results on a regular basis and make corrections as needed.
Commit to it
Now that you’re rolling, you’ll want to keep this momentum going. Don’t set things in motion and then forget about them or give up when they seem difficult. Stick to it!
One thing that will help is taking the time to make sure both your leadership and your team clearly understand the following:
- Where the organization is going
- Why it’s important
- How you will get there
- When it will happen
- How they will be impacted
- What they are expected to contribute
Clearly articulating the changes that are coming will allow people to feel excited instead of scared, empowered instead of frustrated, and knowledgeable instead of in the dark. Meanwhile, when your team understands how they fit into the bigger picture, they will be much more willing to stop fighting the change initiatives and start fighting with you to put them in place.
And that’s the kind of change that builds better businesses.
Is your broker truly excited about organizational problem solving and helping you design an employee benefits strategy that helps you recruit top talent and makes your job easier? If not, give us a call. We live for this stuff!
Photo by Nattapol Sritongcom