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Don't try to make business change happen in a vacuum

Most business owners know the expression that the 'definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting something different to happen!'. They understand that if they want to improve their business and maximize its potential then focused change is an essential ingredient.

However, far fewer business owners seem to recognize that business change is difficult to make happen in a vacuum.

Getting from 'A' to 'B' requires business leaders to follow 3 clear steps (with thanks and appreciation to Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles and 'Gung Ho').

Step 1 - Make it feel like a change worth making. Ensure that your team understand their Mission and are working with shared and agreed Values.

The team need to understand why this change effort matters and what their goals are. Shared goals provide context for action and 'get the team going'. Shared values go to the 'core' of your business. Shared values sustain the team efforts when the change process 'going gets tough'.

Step 2 - Establish the 'rules of the game'.

Leaders decide who 'plays in what position' on the team. Great leaders trust their team to then 'do their job and play the game' and show initiative.

Leaders need to challenge and stretch the team to learn new skills and achieve their best. But they also need to motivate the team to strive for success ('a fair days work for a fair days pay').

However, notwithstanding steps 1 and 2, sometimes the pace of change will not be obvious to the whole team - particularly those who are not directly involved. Waiting for change can be like watching a glacier - 'is anything happening?' 

Step 3 - Maintain momentum by 'cheering each other on'

Imagine that you were at a football game where the fans only cheered when their team actually scored. How boring and sterile an experience that would be!

Fortunately, at a football game fans cheer progress down the field and not just scores and results! Business leaders must follow their example. To maintain the team's enthusiasm and faith in the change process, it is important to celebrate lots of small victories - and make incremental change obvious to everybody. Think about how you can celebrate each 'first down' with your team and not just the 'touchdowns'.

Think of the formula for success as an equation where E=MC2

E stands for Enthusiasm

M is the shared Mission (& Values)

C is the Cash (and other forms of base rewards and motivation)

C is for Cheering (celebrate success)

Because really effective business change does not happen in a vacuum!


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