Change Is Inevitable

Basic Business Cents

“It is not necessary to change; survival is not mandatory.” Edwards Deming

The world around us is changing rapidly and we must change in order to stay in business and prosper. Satchel Paige said, “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” It is no longer possible to stand still; we either go forward or we regress. Three areas of change are crucial; process improvement/innovation, strategy, and culture.

The biggest breakthrough in management thinking is to change focus from the product/service to the process that produces the product/service. Certainly problems occur with products/services, which demand attention, but it is important to reach a balance of one’s time between problem solving and process improvement/innovation. Typically, managers have the responsibility to create and improve processes and employees do the best job they can within the process they are given. Employees can be involved in collecting data and, if trained in process improvement techniques, they can start to analyze the data and make suggestions to management. Management must also be trained in the improvement/innovation techniques to develop new or improved processes with the input from the data of existing processes.

Strategy is also in need of change. Robotics in manufacturing, electronic communications in marketing and training, and advances in distribution are impacting everyone. The aim or dream for the future needs to be identified and shared by all employees so they can work together to accomplish it. Whatever might stop the organization from achieving that aim should be identified along with opportunities available and a strategy identified to achieve the collective aim or dream. A leader should be selected to be responsible for the achievement of each strategic action and report regularly on progress. Words without action are useless and follow-up is key to accomplishment of the strategy.

Culture change is also important. Gone are the days of cracking the whip over employees and are being replaced by leadership. Business is so complex today that one, or a few, brains aren’t enough; we need the brainpower of all employees to succeed. Leaders aren’t drivers but more leaders, being out in front, setting the example. They embrace the minds of the employees. Trust and respect must be exemplified at all levels, up, down and across the organization. Training must be provided at all levels and a growth path for employees should be visualized. Leaders should display enthusiasm and a positive attitude because negativity will rub off on the employees and morale will tail off. Leaders lead!

Why change? It provides opportunities to grow and flourish. Change is exciting, rewarding, and provides a sense of accomplishment for all.