Why it is easier to pivot than evolve
As a consultant, I introduce change (some might say, inflict). In most cases these changes are vital, because for whatever reason those companies have lost the muscle memory to make effective and timely alterations to processes resulting in lost productivity, lack of growth, and low profits.
Companies that do not have a healthy relationship with change become accustomed to stagnation:
- Existing processes start to slow things down instead of speeding them up.
- Profit is harder to come by.
- Pain points simply become more painful.
- Fixing the problem stalls because, “We already changed this once…”
The goal is to embrace change, not simply be more comfortable with it. Here are three things I remind my clients when I am nurturing (or inflicting) change in their organizations:
Three Tenets of Change
Make a plan so you can change it
Reactive is the state of executing without planning or preparation. Proactive means you have made a plan that can therefore be modified when circumstances dictate.
Without a plan, surprises can lead to abandoning what we know and focusing on only one aspect of the problem. With a plan, we can direct modifications in the context of what is not affected.
We plan for the likely, but we prepare for the unlikely.
Just like having an agenda or schedule for a project will help keep everyone in sync, it also serves as a baseline when circumstances force changes. “Rehearsal is at 5:00 pm” tells the team to meet key deadlines in advance of that time. When the client pushes the rehearsal up by one hour, it’s easy to see what that affects.
Changes need to be borne by all or will be embraced by no one
Systemic change often means that we need to alter processes that are actually working well to accommodate new processes in other areas. To some this might seem unfair or unnecessary, but folks are generally more willing to accept changes in their roles or processes if they see that everyone else is having to make similar sacrifices.
A typical organizational problem in event production is how to make a clean hand off from sales to operations. If Sales expects operations to accommodate the sales process, it is reasonable that Ops expect sales to accommodate theirs. Reality is both processes will need to be modified to achieve the best results.
This also means that we need to view change holistically. Even a small change in one area can affect other departments. More importantly, by making simultaneous changes in several areas at once, you can often maximize results.
Change is more successful when there are shared goals
If systems and processes are interconnected, then certainly goals must be too. Goals and objectives are critical elements of leadership, but they also serve to better manage change by mediating resistance (and enthusiasm).
In the above example, the goal of sales was to make sure Ops treats their project and customers correctly. For Ops, the goal was to improve communication with the client during the critical delivery phase. A shared goal might be to achieve customer satisfaction at the intended profit margins.
The change might be to move pricing and scope definition to another management team.
Let’s face it, the best solution is rarely obvious. If it were, you would have probably adopted the change without any discussion.
Is your relationship with change a bit strained? Then set goals, create a plan, and spread the work across all departments for faster, more durable results.
If you need help doing that, then let’s have a quick chat and dig into those goals.