Change is the only constant

or why you only get to choose the flavour of Change you want…

Whether you realise it or not, managing Change is the key to every business. You almost certainly do not have a Change Director. You perhaps spend little time directly discussing it. However, every executive is looking at his (or her) business and making a binary decision:-

  • What works well and needs maintaining?
  • What doesn’t work well enough, and needs changing?

Both will require the investment of time and resources.

change

Figure 1: The Change continuum

However, Change doesn’t just take money and time, it needs emotion. If someone doesn’t feel passionately about something, you can bet it won’t happen! That is why each change needs a champion. Someone who can get going, when the going gets tough.. and it will.

I was talking to a local business leader today about his change program and he said to me “ Change isn’t about the big things, but about a series of little things”, and he is absolutely right! If someone tries to sell you a fix-all solution that will make everything better; don’t buy it!

Change is about creating a patchwork quilt of little things which come together to make each aspect of your business just a bit better.

Certainly there are times for big investments, such as new systems, showrooms or products, but each of these headline changes must be supported by hundreds of small initiatives to make them work.

Remember that businesses don’t change, people do. You have to win over each of your people and show them how, and why, you want them to change. You will almost certainly have to tell them, and show them more than once. Each person must arrive at their own understanding before they will move forward. Change is definitely a people business.

Once you have begun to build a culture that supports Change, nurture it and build on it. This is the heart of Continuous Improvement, getting all your people constantly reviewing what they are doing and seeing how they can add more value and reduce waste.

If you hear people saying “We have always done it that way”, or worse still find yourself saying it, then it is time to ask why you haven’t found a better way.

As Machiavelli once said (and he should know!) “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order to things.” Unless it is NOT doing so!

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