At one stage in our lives, you and I have resisted change. Most people are anti-change. Why? Because change is hard for everyone. Regardless of this, change is inevitable. If we are to progress or grow, we have to embrace change and not constantly resist it.
In the corporate world, executives are always pushing for change initiatives in order to drive and improve business performance. Advancements in IT, globalization, changing business operating landscape, new regulations etc are all exerting some pressure on organizations to change.
If as an organization you are not adaptable, then you are definitely positioning yourself for failure. Managers ought to assess their current strategies and processes and evaluate whether they are delivering the required value or not.
What used to work yesterday may not work today. Take f or example “Desktop Computers”. In the past managers would never leave their desks so as to be accessible to emails and other kinds of information.
Fast forward a decade or so since the first desktop computer was invented, managers including their employees can access information on the go anytime. Slowly adapting to these changes means you will be left behind completely.
The keys to dealing with change successfully are having a good attitude toward it and being prepared to meet it. In his book, The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset, John C. Maxwell discusses the following preparation points for successful change:
1. Change Is Inevitable: Change will happen whether you like it or not. New business risks will continue to emerge and these require new ways of monitoring and managing. The same applies with Performance Management.
New methodologies such as scorecards, rolling forecasts, activity based costing/management, customer profitability analysis, strategy maps and predictive analytics will continue to make a positive impact in managing and improving enterprise performance management.
Whether you like change or not, the only thing certain about tomorrow is that it will be different from today.
2. Without Change There Can Be No Improvement: Enterprises that desire to improve their processes and strategies necessary to deliver value for their various stakeholders must embrace change. If you’re still relying on proven old strategies to deliver exceptional results, you’re wasting your time and going nowhere. To sum it in John Maxwell’s own words, “When you want something that you’ve never had, then you have to do something you’ve never done. That means changing.
3. Make A Commitment To Pay The Price For Change: Successful change will always cost you something, for example; time, energy, creativity, commitment, human and financial resources. You must be prepared to get rid of old ways of doing things and create something new. If change doesn’t cost you anything, then it isn’t real change.
4. Change Must Happen Within You Before It Can Happen Around You: Leaders must understand that for change programs to be successful, they must first walk the talk themselves. Those leaders who desire change for everyone but stay behind will not yield the desired results.
Total commitment and buy-in by senior managers are key to ensuring that progress is made in the areas they seek to change.
5. Decide What You Are Not Willing To Change: Implementing change does not mean reinventing the whole wheel. Some processes and strategies will continue to produce great results hence should not be terminated. Prior to deciding what needs to be changed, always ask yourself some of these questions:
- Is this change compatible with the purpose of the organization?
- Is this change specific and clear?
- Is it possible to test this change before making a total commitment to it?
- Does this change have both short and long range benefits?
- Does everything else indicate the timing is right?
Having answers to some or all of these questions will help you identify and decide what needs changing and what doesn’t.
6. It’s Never Too Late To Change: As the Turkish proverb says, “No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back.” The fact that your organizational performance is lagging behind your standards or those of your sector or industry does not mean that this is eternal.
You can turnaround the situation as long you are willing and prepared to make that first move towards change. Rise above the status quo, be bold, be receptive to change and move beyond the old to a fresh reality.
As long you have a great attitude about change, you will achieve the results your organization desire.
How else can you prepare for successful change?