Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why Change? Why Bother?

Let’s face it. Flat was the new growth in 2009. Leaders sought to hold the line on spending, innovation and growth in the most uncertain economy in our modern times. But it can’t last. Wall Street will demand returns and shareholders will want their value.

One of the greatest challenges of achieving growth is realizing you may need to change. Companies don’t change. People do. Employees know the leadership sets the tone for change. They can tell if you are serious about change or not. We believe articulating an inspiring vision is a key element of any successful culture. So is having a culture where trying to news ideas is accepted.

Is your company set up to allow employees to bring forward new ideas without fear? Probably not.

On one end of the spectrum, leaders may be cautious optimists about growth where slow and steady wins the day. This mindset can be good for a slow to no growth market segment. However, in market segments with mid to rapid growth, leaders must instill a culture of growth by instilling a culture that is willing to try new ideas.

Here is what happens can happen when leaders do not dedicate resources to exploring change. We all loved the United States Postal service. Our moms talked to the mail man as though he were our family members. We used to buy and collect stamps, write love letters, send greeting cards and pay our bills once or twice a month, almost in a ritualistic fashion. With the onset of email, on line bill pay, the cost and overhead of the postal worker and the speed of life, Americas have reduced spending on US Postal Service $7B this year. The projections by year 2010 are to reach $238B. The mere fact the United States Postal Service was not looking at the changing consumer; their behavior and needs, was a sure fire was to become obsolete in 5 years.

Why change? Well, if we don’t we die.


The Core Opportunity: People
The most widespread problem in change management is winning hearts and minds throughout the organization on the importance of change. In a survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, they sited three top three barriers to change:

• Igniting the culture ranked (54% of respondents).
• Lack of buy-in from local management (31% of respondents)
• Active, visible sponsorship from the leadership ( 31% of respondents)

In other words, companies are struggling with a very basic people issues; motivating them to abandon old ways of working for something new. Harvard Business School Professor John Kotter states, “In a typical large change program, it is not a matter of sending out the new organization chart or the new budget or the new strategy with a few projects. It is about changing people’s behavior, often a lot of people, and this is not trivial.”

Look, even we are changing. In the years passed we may have mailed a brochure, taken an airplane to give speech or clipped an article from the newspaper on our clients .Today we are sending e-blasts, using web-ex to present documents to large groups of people and going to social media blogs to find out what consumers are really saying.

The world is changing. Are you ready?

We help create a winning culture of sustainable growth through strategic, inspiring stories. Let’s get growing.

Call Airlift at (01) 312.492.7772 to talk about your growth plans.

1 comment:

Michael said...

This reminds me of one of my favorite passages in Alvin Toffler's book, The Third Wave.
"The responsibility for change, therefore, lies with us. We must begin with ourselves, teaching ourselves not to close our minds prematurely to the novel, the surprising, the seemingly radical."
And if you are going lead a change, make it one that will make a difference. Inspire your team to perspire.