By Chris Arringdale
Change. This six letter word can strike fear in the hearts of many an employee.
The thought of changing anything can be anxiety producing in some people. But
businesses are dynamic. And for businesses to survive, they have to be flexible
and they need to have the ability to react quickly. If an anti-change mentality
exists within the company, the ability to remain flexible and react is reduced
Businesses and the people that inhabit them become creatures of habit and
comfort. The thought of change in procedures and processes can be uncomfortable.
But it is vitally important that a business remain open to change and adjust the
way it goes about its business as changes in the markets it serves occur and as
inefficiencies creep into the operating environment.
Because people are reluctant to change, it is important to establish a standard
of change. In other words, employees should be well aware that nothing is
sacred. If a process is causing problems, it will be changed to make it work
better. If a particular approach to doing business isn't working as well as it
used to, it will be changed. The "because we've always done it that way" excuse
is not acceptable in explaining why something shouldn't be altered.
Since employees are often protective of established ways of doing things, it is
sometimes difficult for them to admit that there might be a better way of
accomplishing the task at hand. There is also the fear of job loss when an
employee feels there will be a reduction in the amount of work required to
accomplish a particular task.
To avoid an ant-change mentality, set expectations about change. Those
expectations include eliminating the notion of sacred cows. Sacred cows in
business can be, at best, limiting and, at worst, crippling. Sacred cows can be
employees, processes, procedures, products or services, promotional approaches,
office or store front location or a host of other things held near and dear to
the heart of someone in the organization.
Look at current business practices with a critical eye. Ask yourself if those
practices really are the best way to go about meeting your goals. If they
aren't, initiate changing them. Employees will feel more comfortable about
change when it is a part of the culture. When change is not feared because it is
known that the business will keep up with market changes and with the times,
employees will buy into the idea of change more readily and help facilitate the
Don't allow employees to dictate the rate of change. Many employees will tend to
slow that rate. Your job as a manager or owner is to encourage employees to
identify things that need to change or to assist the employees in identifying
what needs to be changed.
It's widely recognized that businesses that are adaptable and flexible stand a
better chance of thriving. They can react quickly and prudently. In a culture
where change is uncommon and feared, the ability to change rapidly is diminished
significantly because the organization isn't accustomed to making changes as
needed. In a slow-to-react culture, the business often finds itself on the
outside looking in, so to speak, when it comes to taking advantage of new
opportunities in the market or upticks and downturns in the economy.
Change is inherent in business. Unfortunately too many businesses are not good
at recognizing when to change. And in many other cases, the people within the
organization hold the business back by not wanting to change. Cast a critical
eye on all facets of your business and constantly ask yourself if any of them
should be changed. Ask your employees to do the same and encourage them to come
forward with their ideas for change.
One word of caution is in order, however. Sometimes an owner or manager will
want to change things simply for the sake of change. Adhere the old adage, "if
it ain't broken, don't fix it". Certainly something that appears to be working
well can often be enhanced by making some minor modifications. Evaluate whether
radical change is necessary or just some simple enhancement is in order.
A Leadership Guide to Managing Change
Leaders play a key role in managing change. Effective managers help find and
crystallize future direction, set expectations for behavior and performance and
priorities, walk the talk and influence the direction of future systems and
Negativity in the Workplace
Negativity is part of our lives and we can either be victims of it or
use it to our advantage. To manage negativity, you need to admit that it
exists and that it's a part of life. Stuff happens. How we deal with
that stuff is the key.
Employee Commitment - 8 Ways to Describe and Encourage Loyalty,
Dedication, and Devotion
Your organization's success depends on employees being loyal, dedicated,
and devoted. In other words, everyone has to be "committed" to doing a
great job. Your task is to tell your employees what it means to be