This Is Not Where Change Begins
Updated: Jan 7
You can read the article or watch the video below.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
Where does change begin? If you’ve read articles or attended workshops, you’re probably familiar with the drill. They tell you to design a plan, create and follow a well-defined process, and to establish clarity and acceptance at the executive level. They’ll probably also describe the importance of seeing the change through the eyes of your employees and to pay attention how the change is affecting them. You’ll be encouraged to focus on your managers and supervisors, ensuring they have the proper tools and knowledge to lead the change. Perhaps they’ll give you guidance on how to handle the resistance you will most certainly encounter when implementing change. Finally, you’ll be advised to set your metrics so that you’ll be able to measure progress and success.
This is ALL sound advice and required for successful change. But this is not where change begins.
XYZ company experienced dramatic growth in a very short time. They found themselves with a much larger workforce but no policies or procedures in place. Throughout their growth, silos between divisions were built resulting in a myriad of different processes and sets of standards. So much was happening and coming from different angles, the executive team found it impossible to manage. As a small company, it was much easier to keep track of performance, address concerns, and regulate spending even without any policies and procedures in place. As a larger company, it was insurmountable.
The executive team took the right steps as described above. They created an organizational chart, identified what needed to change, and designed plans for the reform. There was no doubt among leadership that change was necessary. They knew it would be painful, but they were 100% committed. They enlisted the help of an experienced change agent and began the change process. They developed policies and procedures, worked to establish consistency across divisions, and communicated their expectations to managers and supervisors.
In the first year of their efforts, they were left frustrated and deflated. They experienced only minuscule progress. Why? Because this is not where change begins.
Many business owners focus their change efforts around their people. But, the first and the most painful step in change is the change a business owner must adapt. For significant and sustained change, the change must start with the person at the top. It requires internal reflection and honesty with one’s self. It requires a willingness to acquire new and unique perspectives. It requires a change in behaviors.
Whether it’s a small change, such as procedural, or a large change, such as creating a new culture, change begins with the principal stakeholder- the owner.
What changes do you need to make?