Are You Changing Fast Enough?

Change is all around us … from how quickly my nieces’ 2 year old daughter is growing to the explosion of computing power, social media, Millennials entering the workforce and global warming. Even our cars are getting software upgrades.

Change is relentless and it’s changing how we approach everything. The one thing we can be confident of is that something important in our day-to-day encounters is likely going to change very soon… or is now.

Are You Changing Fast Enough?

Change Puzzle

Change Puzzle

It’s not a question of should you change – it’s a question of are you changing fast enough?

But, how can you keep changing while also getting your Important Work done? This is a real challenge because change is now a constant – which means the way most organizations work through change no longer works… because most organizations are not built to be adaptable – to be resilient – and therefore they are being left behind. We only have to look at giants like Blackberry, Kodak and Eaton’s for evidence.

How do we build a work environment that is adaptable – to be resilient?

The solution is to turn on your employees, ignite their passion so that they inspire innovation and take pride in creating wonderful adaptable solutions. Some solutions will be almost unnoticeable, and some complex… and yet all change can to ignite passion and keep your organization moving forward and your employees interested, proud and loyal… for at least a little while longer.

Because we all know bored Millennials leave, you have to train people well enough so they can leave… but don’t want to leave. This goes for employees of any generation.

Abandon routine.

Leaders Embrace Adaptable, Collaborative Teams

Everyone gets to lead – you don’t have to be the President of the company.

Leadership is about adaptability, customer loyalty and employee engagement. The role of a leader is to define a future vision that inspires employees to achieve great things. Leaders support their team as the team designs client focussed solutions to support the vision… but leaders also support the individuals of the team to set and achieve great personal goals.

I like to look at non-presidential leadership as collaboration. A collaborative team evolves as the project evolves. Different people take on more critical roles when necessary and then step aside when its time for another expert to step in. For example, if you have a collaborative team responsible for publishing a magazine this project might proceed as follows:

  1. The Leader identifies the vision for the magazine
  2. The whole Collaborative Team identifies the approach. In this case… to use business stories
  3. The sales specialist takes the lead to hunt for clients and great business stories
  4. The whole Collaborative Team selects which stories to use
  5. The writers take the lead to perform the client interviews and write the stories
  6. The editor leads the editing and alignment of the stories
  7. The graphic designers lead the team (especially sales specialist), to find appropriate images and design
  8. The whole Collaborative Team agrees and signs off on design
  9. The print expert leads the physical creation of the magazine

Like any good organization, this collaborative team is always reinventing itself. Collaborative groups engage the right people at the right time – letting others focus on their other important work / projects until their specialty is required… then they join in as long as needed… keeping them engaged and inspired.

Organizations are adaptive and responsive to emerging needs / technology / opportunities when innovation and collaboration is rewarded by customer and employee loyalty, therefore making them more resilient… which is rewarded by investors.

Put Diversity To Work

Diversity helps drive innovative, thoughtful, smart change… and vision. In a collaborative setting diversity and respect promote creativity, empathy and therefore relationships, flexibility and results.

Diversity = Innovative Opportunities

Some diversity options to be aware of include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Orientation
  • Culture:
    • First generation vs. Second or Third generation
  • Socioeconomic background
  • Business / industry familiarity
  • Skill set / experience

The success of any person, team or company is the ability to adapt.

Reward Mistakes As Learning

You might think your management team isn’t ready to lead. How will you know if they don’t get a chance to learn, grow and make a mistake or two.

Some of the best learning is gained by making mistakes and learning what not to do. You may even discover a whole new approach or product/service. Kevin Chou outlines this well in his article ‘Something Good Usually Comes When Bold Innovators Make Mistakes.

Even professional racecar drivers scrape a bumper from time to time.

Change (diversity, exploration and collaboration) are mute if an organization culture reward conformity and punish dialogue, new ideas and the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. Change requires trust in your own ability to make a decision and trust in your associates to provide valuable input (why you hired them), and trust that your organization will support you – even during set-backs. This trust allows you to keep moving – to keep learning – to keep developing.

In most organizations there is little incentive to abandon the familiar – silos are created and protected. Failure is penalized vs. seen as a natural part of growth and a learning opportunity.

Conclusion

Change is a constant – not a destination. Are you changing fast enough? Whatever you build has to be adaptable… resilient.

Encourage dialogue. Practice active mindful listening. Don’t be held back by things you tried a few years ago and didn’t work out… much has changed in the last few years. Think of how frequently Apple releases a new iPhone.

The saying used to be “If it aint broke don’t fix it.” Now the saying almost has to be “If it exists, break it and improve.” Today’s economy is providing great opportunities, but with low entry fees and greater opportunities to get your message out; competition and innovation is coming from every direction.

It’s not only the customers who want something special – so do employees. Are your people prepared for change? Do they know what to expect – and how they are empowered?

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

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Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

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About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

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