One of the biggest avoidances for business leaders and their staff is the idea of change. If you have never read the book Who Moved My Cheese, I would highly recommend buying it, reading it, and then forcing your staff to read it. While it is a cheap, easy, and somewhat cartoonish book to read, the implication in many organizations is dead on target with many of those in management. Dont get me wrong, change is never easy and rarely a quick fix transition. If things seem to be running well, and everything seems to be looking good into the future, change is even harder to admit to. This is not to say any business should completely upset the proverbial applecart and step into a change mode. It is also not to say that business leaders should keep the organization in a constant state of change. Both of these strategies tend to be counterproductive at the least and can lead to self-destruction. You do have to be careful with that often well overused phrase
If it aint broke, dont fix it and not simply apply it to the entire organization without a thought towards the future state.
One key to determining when a change to the organization is warranted, can be based on a few simple observations or historical events. If processes and production is not going well, yet the consistent and same efforts are focused on it, there might be a need for a change. By using the term Change, it is not solely defined by simply utilizing a specific rubber stamp to any one single group of leaders, processes, procedures, or practices. The key here is to evaluate and know the status for each as it applies to the overall strategy of the organization. There has to be a vision to what bright should look like in the future. This then will yield what part of the organization is the bottleneck in getting to the bright future state. I have witnessed some organizations that are struggling and feel if they throw more resources at it, the problems will go away. The typical logic here is to have more observers over the problems or problem areas, to prevent issues from occurring before they become an issue. This often does not establish a long term solution and often times facilitates reversion back to the original issues once the added resources are removed. Finding a long term solution can be much harder and can required a far different tactic or strategy. Typically the best resource for determining an adequate strategy has to come from only an objective resource.
On the other end of the spectrum are those organizations that are doing well, have been doing well, and believe they have everything documented, trained, and locked down to continue doing well. Over time, this leads to stagnation, obsolescence, and a very high resistance to change. Dont get me wrong, Im not saying if something seems to be working, and has been working over an extended period of time, to simply turn it all upside down and change it. What I am saying is to be vigilant, forward thinking, and aggressive in your strategy enough to recognize when a change is necessary for long term growth. I hear it often
This is the way we have always done it. Yet when you actually give due diligence to dig into the results both financially and strategically, it does not produce the optimum results or productivity. I know, I know. How can someone change when profit margins are high, moral is high, and productivity is exceeding expectations? Maybe a change is not currently warranted, but these types of situations or circumstances are when organizational leaders become complacent, allow higher level of forgiveness for errors, and tend to simply sit back figuring the small slump in production will be short lived. Then all of a sudden, in a short time period, everything falls apart. Or, on the other side, obvious opportunities to gain even more improvement or efficiency are simply lost.
With all of my statements above, the key I am driving home is the need to understand and admit when a change is needed, warranted, beneficial, or required on the horizon just to stay competitive. As with any vise a person may have, the first step is to just admit, a change to the organization in some manor is, or will soon be required to maintain or achieve success. Some larger organizations operate on the strategy of changing certain levels of management every couple of years. Their logic seems to coincide with the feeling that a natural progression of the leadership force will drive down stagnation, drive up self-improvement, and assist in developing newer or better ways to operate given the potential changing perspectives. Does this work? It depends on who you talk to within the organization and to what level of financial results are presented in factual favor of the strategy. No matter what the current situation is, if the organization is struggling and no currently applied strategy seems to improve it, the key may be in getting a higher level of objectivity and perspective. On the other end of the spectrum, if everything seems to be ticking along without issue, this might be a good time to apply an objective assessment to the organization. You might be surprised to what is found. In either case, it is the objective perspective that is key, and most often comes from the outside, to what is considered to be the enclosed organization. It is having the ability to see the forest from outside the trees. An investment of the assessment can yield reduced costs and improved efficiencies.