During a down economy, painful changes become a way of life. Avoiding pain isn’t an option. I know, because I ‘ve coached over 1000 top executives who wanted to bury their heads in the sand and and ignore the agony of their situations. In the end, the attempt to avoid pain just creates more problems and anguish.
Pain is simply a symptom. It’s an uncomfortable reminder that some things simply cannot be ignored.
I have seen changes in our economy, the war and the recent disaster at the Gulf impact high growth companies at an alarming rate. During these challenging times, it is more critical than ever for companies to take risks to survive and even thrive. Stagnation–attempting to ignore the pain–begets extinction. Change requires hard work and an unwavering commitment to achieving your goals. That change begins with the executive leaders of the company or the owner of a small business. It begins with you!
So, here are some must guidelines to be following during the change cycle.
1. Help your employees and your customers make great choices. Stop micro-managing people and start coaching them in the direction of making great choices which will help the company to drive through a change.
2. Start moving in the direction of innovation but stop the fighting that is going on inside your company about the direction you are heading. Start building consensus around a common goal for the future.
3. Get your company fully engaged in social networks. A great deal is going on inside the world of social networking, and it is up to you to lead the charge on this front so that you send the message that global interactions will be the order of the day for your company. Through social networking, you can soften an angry customer or attract new talent into your company that you may have overlooked.
4. Stop “stepping one toe” into the water. This approach never works during a change cycle. It is better to fully jump in, get really cold and wet and start learning from the mistakes and opportunities along the way. If you are “tip-toeing” into the water, you aren’t really dedicated…you are just messing around.
5. Stop “putting out fires” and “fixing problems with a band-aid”…look at a new product or service that will eliminate your problem permanently or at least diminish it to 20% of the time. This new product or service is going to require change, but you will breathe so much easier as the problem diminishes over time.
6. Get the public involved in your efforts. People WANT to get involved in your change efforts. They WANT to help! The more your customers are involved by commenting on a blog or forum, the easier the change will be. Take the feedback, listen to it closely, watch for patterns in complaints and cheers and make improvements along the way. Let the world know that “we hear you and we are making the change”.
7. Drop perfectionism. This just will not work during change. Change is messy, it is painful, it is freakin’ scary…you can’t be perfect during a change.
8. Hire a coach. Having a coach by your side during a change can greatly help ease the pains of change.
9. Start following trends and finding ways to add them into your existing product or service offerings. Trust me…your competitors are doing this. If you are ignoring the trends in your industry, you are giving your compeitors a leg up on you. You can take a big trend and “add it” to your existing products or services to pull in a younger audience. Check out http://trendwatching.comto see what’s new.
10. Stop doing whatever is not working. There are probably 50 things that are not working in your business right now. STOP DIONG THEM! If something is not working, and you continue doing it, you are going to spiral down quickly.
11. Bring in new blood…people who can think differently than your current culture , who can infuse passion and excitement into the organization and who can help drive change.
If you are someone who is living with the pain of change, contact me today for a 30 minute consultation. There will be no charge for this consultation…just a time to get to know more about you and how I can help you ease the pain of change.