Will Change Hurt or Help?

In my work, I am always dealing with change.  It may be helping clients to implement new systems, facing behaviours that are not working for them, creating new products/services, starting a new business or switching jobs (or careers).  No matter how we look at it, change is a constant.  There are many commonalities in how business owners, leaders, organizations and industries are dealing with this reality but there are also many differences.  Some organizations are internalizing the changes (looking inward and identifying ways to restructure, identify efficiencies, and plan for the future), while other organizations are looking outward for support and ideas in addition to looking inward.  It doesn’t matter if the organization is large or small, there are examples of both approaches in each category.

Some of the changes that are happening include:

  • hiring freezes resulting in existing employees to taking on more work.
  • reorganization of duties between employees.
  • lay-offs and closures, which impact the morale of the organization.
  • cut-backs or discontinued funding for projects or programmes.
  • revisiting the organizational vision and strategic objectiveswhich direction?
  • shortening the horizon of the strategic plan (from the traditional 3-5 years into shorter term objectives)

Many of the above have a negative connotation that will impact productivity, morale and effectiveness.  There can be some great off-sets to these so-called negative changes.

  1. YOU could decide to leave a job (maybe with an exit compensation package) and pursue a new job, new career or entrepreneurship.  It often takes a triggering event to spark the decision to actually make a change.  Follow your passion.  You’ll be glad you did.
  2. Cross training of employees expands the ability of employees to gain greater experience, grow and develop into stronger team members.  Employers, restructuring can offer fabulous opportunities to garner input from your team, engage them in the changes and offer new opportunities to re-invigorate each member.
  3. Revisiting your vision and strategic objectives and the action plans in place can reveal some eye-opening information which allows you to realign and refocus to set your self up for success.  It is so easy to drift off course when you become distracted by day-to-day challenges.
  4. A strategic vision needs to have a longer horizon  than one year, but I find it difficult to have great clarity beyond 2-3 years.  Shortening your strategic plan to 2 years and reviewing it every year and adding another year allows you to be flexible and better able to react to unforeseen changes, trends and opportunities.  The key is to ensure you don’t stray away from your “brilliance”.  Do what you do best or the shorter vision will come back to bite you!

What changes are you experiencing in your organization or industry?  What trends are you seeing?  Will these trends impact how you do business?  Is there a better approach — internal vs external?  Should you ask for help from a coach, mentor, or consultant?

Apply SPARK to your changes and you won’t go wrong!

 

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