Blog: It’s all about Change

The basics are needed for the foundation, but with the rapidly changing business environment, be alert to the changes that are needed to sustain success. Change, more than ever, is the key to successful growth in today’s economy.

When a dynamic company president wants to step on the throttle and accelerate growth or bring about change, the major hindrance is often the gap between him and his staff. The biggest obstacle to overcome is inertia. A president who is keyed up to change direction leads the charge with his very personal call for self-improvement. Getting the staff to grasp the new vision is difficult, but getting them to change the way they do things for the new culture is even more difficult. In response to your plea for ideas, you may get nothing more than exasperating blank stares, puzzled looks or furrowed brows, that indicate they believe they won’t get out of their anytime soon! Just as bad is the automatic negative input on the way and how a president’s suggestion “can’t” be done.

At these times, everyone should remember what their role in the company is – that the staff is paid to define how it can be done – and that it is the president’s call as to whether or not the process is worth the time, resources and risk.

To Illustration

The president is pulling a wooden wagon with wobbly wheels up a long steep hill. The wagon is loaded with sand and pebbles, and the load is uncovered so that sand and pebbles are spilling out in all directions through the slatted sides. There is no road and the path is pocked with holes and rocks that cause the wagon to buck and roll from side – to side, forcing the president to follow a zigzag route up the hill. For every move upward on the scarred terrain, there is a half move backward. The struggle is almost unbearable, but the obsession of this vision drives him on. His vision is to build a concrete monument with the company name on it at the top of the hill for…everyone to see.

If the staff would share his vision, the task would be made easier. “Sally Sales” would run ahead and put up a sign to let everyone know that the wagon is coming. “Andy Accounting” would separate the load and put a cover on top to keep it from blowing away. ”Max Manufacturing” would repair all the leaks and strengthen the latch on the back gate. “Ed Engineering” would find a way to put a motor on the front and ease the pull. It might still take days to reach the goal at the top, but at least the president wouldn’t kill himself and he could be spending his time planning on how to utilize the monument for the company advantage.

But in today’s highly competitive market a shared vision is only half the battle. Someone may beat them to it. How great it would be if they could also rethink how they should do things, and with open-minded discussions come up with a better idea. This is where “Mary Marketing” starts to shine with her thinking and creative planning mentality.

She is quick to grasp the need for getting there first and also optimizing the resources. Her thinking goes way beyond the so-called box. Her response to the situation above is, “let’s hire a helicopter and lift the load and all of us to the top of the hill and thus accomplish the task in less than half an hour.”

Changing the culture in today’s business environment is a necessity, but after sharing the vision, new and better ways must be found to pull away from the pack. This is where the need for change takes over.