How Necessary is Change?



How Necessary is Change?

Two frogs are sitting on a lily pad, one jumps off, how many frogs are left on the lily pad?

If you answered that no frogs remain you are correct.  Lily pads aren’t the most stable structures and the effect of one frog jumping will unstick the remaining frog from his resting place.

So the moral of the story?  Change will also effect the people who really want to stay put.

We’ve heard the popular saying “The only constant is change”, however what if it is more important than that?  The reality is that unless we, as small businesses, continually evolve and adapt we will not survive.  Constant, small, regular changes or tweaks are crucial for competitive edge and leadership in our industries.  This is one of the advantages we have over the larger organistations, we can adapt and change our businesses relatively quickly compared to the juggernauts that are our larger competitors.

So change is essential, we need to let go of the security reigns and realise that change and adaption is crucial for our survival.

As managers and business leaders the onus Is on us to take responsibility in our roles for the development of our staff and the company.  When training delegates, I use the phrase “the meaning of communication is the response we get”.  It is a great way of getting people to understand that they are responsible for how they communicate to people.  It is no use to walk away from a fractious situation with your hands in the air muttering “Well that’s not what I meant”.  You need to be bigger than that.  In the same way we, as managers, are judged by the results we get with our staff.  So careful consideration and guidance are key to our success.  Here are some tips:

Expect it

We must expect some resistance to change.  It is natural to be cautious and resistant to a change, you will often find a correlation between how close the individual is to change and the level of resistance they are displaying.

Try to pre-empt it

When I write polices for companies I first write the policy and then I run a series of scenarios against the policy to ensure it’s robust.  In the same way you, as a leader and a manager will need to run scenarios against your plans.

Where possible always tackle expected resistance before commencing the project.  Avoid waiting for the bomb to drop, if you know someone or a group of people are going to react negatively it would serve you to discuss their issues prior to communicating with the rest of the work force (see my previous blog about Managing Resistance to change).

Keep communicating

At first there are lots of confidential meetings with management to ensure the right decisions are being made however as plans are confirmed it will be time to open up your communication strategies.

As a manager you must now move away from the “Need to Know Only” stance to regularly referring to the upcoming project and opening inviting questions.

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