|| Print ||
|Tuesday, August 02, 2011|
BY ALEX CASEBEER
Question: Why do we need to change ____? Answer: I don’t know. It’s the way we’ve always done things.
Boy, do I dislike that answer. And it’s one that I keep hearing in the marketplace. You know how the old adage goes: “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.” I, for one, think it is a slight cop-out. In my industry (automobiles), I get this answer weekly, if not daily. And if my company isn’t constantly looking for areas to tweak or change, then we are losing money as well as opportunities. Let me give you some classic examples.
Question: Why are we still advertising in that newspaper? Answer: I don’t know. You have to advertise there, I guess, because we’ve always done it that way.
This irks me every week when I see our full-page ad run in the back pages of the local section of the newspaper. Do people even read the newspaper anymore? I don’t — at least not the print paper. I have an app for that. So just because we’ve “always advertised there” doesn’t mean we can’t make a change and get more creative. Maybe it’s time for a change.
Or how about this one?
Question: Why is he still working here? Answer: Well he’s been here for so long, as long as I’ve worked here. So I guess we have to keep him around, right?
Now I’m not saying there isn’t value in long-term employees, because there is. Trust me — Bud has worked at my dealership for over 47 years. But what happens if a certain employee hasn’t been productive in years? Do we keep them around just because we feel like we have to?
What I’m getting at here is much bigger and potentially very costly. I’m talking about resistance to change. We are in the middle of the fastest-changing business climate ever seen. More and more companies are doing on-line advertising exclusively, are texting instead of calling, and are connecting with their customers through twitter rather than print mailers. These are all great things. Companies that do these sorts of things are companies who are adapting to the current technology and business culture. But what about the companies that refuse to make a change in order to better meet the needs and wants of their consumers? What are the reasons we resist change? Let’s take a look at a few.
I recently read a study by A.J. Schuler, a doctor of physiology, and I found that there are some key reasons why our employees may resist change. The first is that people may feel connected with others who are associated with “the old way.” A great way to overcome this objection is to affirm their good work that got you to where you are right now and let them know that their efforts (and those they look up to) are not going overlooked. We need to let them know that whatever changes we make will only help to improve the working culture and success of the company.
Another reason for resisting change is that some people may believe that the proposed ideas for change are simply bad ideas. We as managers will battle that response for the rest of our lives. Truth be told, not all of our ideas are great ones. However, we need to let our employees know that complacency is a killer, and that sometimes all we need is a simple idea, spark or a small tweak to really push the needle in a positive direction.
My favorite reason for resistance is that sometimes the risk to change is seen as greater than the risk of standing still. Classic. Schuler responds to this by saying:
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Change begins with the perception of risk, and we, as managers need to be the risk-takers and lead the charge.
Schuler has some great points. We are, in most cases, a form of a risk manager. We are in charge of challenging people, motivating people and cultivating a workplace that embraces change and risks. In essence, we are managers of excitement.
As Apple founder Steve Jobs says, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” And we are leaders, aren’t we? So I throw the challenge out to you: What can you do to move the needle in your company? Do you need to make some changes, and are you willing to take some risks? After all, that’s what makes life interesting, isn’t it?
|100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon|
|The Green Paradox|
|Up in the Air|
|Credit Unions Perspective|
|Queen of Resilience|
|Burt's Bees founder dies|
|Greece votes no|
|Did airlines collude to keep fares high?|
|Citigroup analyst thinks Puma should sell|
|OSU researchers examine warm-water mass|
|Appeals court rules against Apple|
|Microsoft to cut division, 1,200 jobs|
Tonkon Torp helps seed sustainability at Gunderson.
Oregon-based Environments helps companies create inspired workspaces. “Simply put, we help companies future-proof their workspaces,” says Chris Corrado, president. Since 1988,Environments has witnessed firsthand the changing landscape of business. Native Portlander and Environments founder Corrado says, “We help our clients navigate the complex realities of the workplace today and plan for their future in a very mindful, strategic way. We think of ourselves as their partners in the process.”
One hundred years ago, the Willamette River might easily have been mistaken for a sewer. Unchecked industrial activity and decades of pollution made it unrecognizable compared to the clean river that now flows north for 187 miles from Eugene through the center of Portland.
3 Degrees Event Celebrates 5th Year Bringing Nonprofit and Business Professionals Together to Benefit Portland.
Bend energy leader brings passion for efficiency and renewable energy to the nonprofit.
Event in Forest Grove marks recognition of Global Food Safety Initiative Certification.