Change – Whether We Like It or Not

change processOne of the few constants in business is change. Yet, we don’t like it and often ignore the fact that things are always changing. As a business leader, this means you will always be at a disadvantage unless you figure out a way to embrace change as a way of doing business.

How often have you or your employees said, “we just got things figured out and now we have to change!” Precisely because you figured it out is the reason you will have to change. Competition never sleeps and will figure out what you know much faster than it took you to come up with the strategy in the first place. Great leaders are able to adapt to change, lead change, and most importantly predict the trends that lead to change.

Another critical piece for leaders is not only to embrace change but to ensure their approach to change is strategic and continues to forward the overall vision and mission of the business. Change for change sake, or change simply to follow trends can lead to a scattered approach to business that confuses employees and doesn’t create improvement, but instead, just a lot of work that doesn’t necessarily lead anywhere.

The easiest route is to stay the same – to coast because it’s known, it’s familiar and “we’ve got this.” The harder route is to anticipate which way things are going to be tomorrow, rather than where they are today. However, if you embrace change and treat it as normal, you will make it normal for your team. First, they need to know it’s okay – that it’s not a crisis and that there is a strategy for dealing with it. Second, that it’s part of business, like a puzzle waiting to be solved. Lastly, that anything that stays the same will be stagnant so it’s up to us to figure out how to make it better.

The young workers of today embrace change. They have already decided that they will have multiple careers in their lifetime, that they will do many different things and that they will be at a company for 3-5 years. As long as they are learning and growing they will stay and then they will move on to their next career or job. As employers, it’s up to us to take advantage of this mindset to see how we can leverage their talent while we have them, challenge them to learn, and enlist them to help us with change.

Business of today moves at the speed of light. Information flows so fast it’s almost impossible to keep up with it. The facts of yesterday are rendered inert by the innovations of today so it’s up to us to stop the resistance and embrace change as a good thing. Every day you will have more information with which to make better decisions. The challenge becomes making the decision while waiting for the next piece of information. To embrace change is to make the decision and know you will likely need to “change” something tomorrow and it’s okay. If you want to have a competitive advantage in business, your ability to embrace change could be a big one.