Friday, September 28, 2012

Dealing With Change

All organizations and people are naturally resistant to change.  Yet, there is no way to foster innovation without change and continuous improvement.  More often than not, change is forced on organizations by bad economic times, or other external factors that dictate change just to stay in business.  When that happens, it is usually more painful than would otherwise be the case, if change is managed during good times. 

The President and CEO of a company should be the firm's Chief Change Officer, or CCO pushing for improvements to all products, services, and practices, especially during good times when there is time to act after considerable due diligence.   Even so, change is no less threatening to employees that would much prefer business as usual.   The problem is that companies that fail to change, usually don't survive.   So change is in fact critical to a company's survival no matter how uncomfortable it may make some employees feel. 

Change can be incremental, or a great leap forward.   7 years ago, this CEO Blogger determined that we needed to move our Client Accounting back office to India.   When I announced this decision to our Management Group, I know they thought I was just plain crazy; though they would never actually say that to me directly.   But, I could read the body language loud and clear.   This particular change was a leap forward and so dramatic for our company, that I had to make it clear that once we went down this road, there would be no turning back.  We were crossing the Rubicon to end up in India.

Further, I made it very clear that I would hold impacted Managers directly responsible for the success of this initiative, which was the only end result I would accept.  Once I made it clear that failure was not an option, our Managers made it happen.   7 years later, particularly as we worked through the financial crisis in the last five years, this move to India proved to be the right decision because the cost savings derived from our Indian operations, with high quality services, has allowed our firm to maintain profitability.

Just recently, I determined that we needed to reboot one of our core services to get better results.   To do so, I elevated this discussion to include our entire Senior Team along with others in Management and our Suppliers to bring together all the players in one room to implement the change I want to see happen.   In this case, there was good receptivity to this process because all acknowledged that change was necessary. 

Companies that are not always moving forward are moving backward.   Though change can be destabilizing for an organization, it is an essential element to success.   Company management should be rewarded for suggesting change to improve the firm, rather than chastised for being a "trouble maker".   Change is a good thing.   Dealing with change should be ingrained into a company's culture.   The status quo and business as usual is a road to mediocrity.   It does not work for me. 

No comments:

Post a Comment