How Successful Businesses Face the Challenge of Change

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On July 25, 2011

In case you haven’t noticed, “business as usual” doesn’t exist anymore. Things are changing all the time. It’s hard to find an aspect of doing business that hasn’t changed. There are new laws and regulations to deal with. The mindset of people in the workforce has changed. The speed at which transactions are conducted has changed (what used to take two weeks is now done in a day). Customer expectations have changed. Technology changes daily. A few years ago, nobody had heard of Twitter, Facebook, Groupon, or Google Plus. Now, that’s how a lot of business gets done.

Coping with change is one of the biggest challenges businesses face today. And businesses that aren’t coping well with change are falling by the wayside. How can you successfully cope with change? Much of your success in dealing with change will come from your attitude. Here are a few “attitude adjusters” that can help.

Accept Change: Don’t fight it. You don’t necessarily have to like every change that comes along, but don’t waste your emotional energy trying to wish it away. Change is simply part of the business equation. Put your energy into making it work for you.

Pick Up the Pace: Changes are taking place at a much faster rate than ever before. Don’t lull yourself to sleep thinking that once you’ve made a few changes that you’re done. Be proactive. Read about the changes in your industry. If you don’t understand it, find someone who can explain it to you. What’s worse: Having someone think you’re not savvy, or having someone know that you’re out of business?

Plan for Change: Don’t give up on planning just because things are in a constant state of change. Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual planning is absolutely essential. Plan based on what you know to be true and then evaluate based on new information.

Time/Self Management: This is something that hasn’t changed! Even when things around you change, make sure you are devoting yourself to what’s important and not to “urgent” problems. So often, new things arrive with a sense of urgency (“If you don’t do this now, you’ll miss out.”) Are these new things really important?

Avoid B.S.O. (Bright Shiny Objects): Some changes demand attention simply because they are new. Not every change is a good change. Don’t buy into something simply because it’s new. Ask if it will help you (and your customers) accomplish your goals.

Keep it Cool: It’s easy to get excited about change. What you really need is not an emotional reaction to change, but a cool, logical approach. Take a step back and do some careful analysis. What will this change cost you? How will it benefit you? Can you measure the impact? Excitement can be good for your business, but it needs to be tempered by cool logic.

What changes are you facing in your business today? What’s your plan for working through the changes you face? I’d love to hear about your biggest “change challenges.”