If managing change feels like crawling backwards on a tightrope through gale force winds while the rest of the company tries to hold the rope steady, then this is for you. We all have our own struggles with the unprecedented change of the last 12 months.
Our companies have been changed by pivots to new business models or operational adaptations. Employees have been changed by remote work and the blurring of work/personal life. Customers have been changed by the new behaviours and procedures necessitated by health and safety concerns. But you and your company are the better for it because there has been unprecedented growth in your potential.
Change has brought a new experience to your company and created new experiences for your employees and customers. We have all proven to be more resilient, more capable, and competent than we thought. Our actions show us to be more empathetic, more innovative, and creative than ever. Every company can use its growth potential to transform its tightrope of change into a runway of success.
Here are three ways to get started:
1. Loosen your grip.
Let go of the old ways, conventional wisdom, and what was considered “normal” just a year ago because going back in time will just not cut it now. Instead, make the most of your current resources and the new growth in potential by creating new practices, applications, and processes that embrace the change. Talk to employees and customers about your work processes and systems and what is working best for them. Then move forward with the best and iterate the rest.
My discussions with employee teams on growth potential revolve around two questions; What does the company need to start doing, and stop doing, to be more successful. Client successes with growth potential include new, powerfully engaging sales processes and new lines of business that make the most of their skill potential and serve customers better than ever. Loosening the grip on the past opens your “potential mindset” to new business practices and processes that unlock the full potential of your employees and the current resources of your company.
2. Make the struggle meaningful.
We cannot make work easier in times of great change, but we can make it more meaningful. The significant change of the last year is all the permission you need to engage in the move to meaningful work.
Meaningful work aligns employee potential to the value proposition of your product or service, so, think about how work could become more meaningful by satisfying the company’s need for production efficiency and the customer need for product or service effectiveness. The transformation to meaningful work starts by identifying and removing the barriers to better employee performance. Have they got the resources, their health and well-being, the skill level, and the purpose to fuel their best work? Keep in mind, it is human nature to struggle and strive to give our best if the goal is meaningful and the resources match our ambition.
The work we have done with clients on meaningful work has led to deep insight into purpose and promise that has transformed service delivery, improved productivity, and refocused efforts on goals rather than process. The bottom line is that your efforts on meaningful work will improve engagement, productivity and make your company and employees more successful.
3. Over-respond. Do not overreact.
This is a time for bold moves, not rash decisions. However, it is difficult to respond to opportunities if you are reacting to every issue. I get it. But it is hard to go wrong if you are focused on the right goal and the goal of over-responding is to make your customers successful.
Start by understanding your customers’ needs, fears, and ambitions. Go deep here. Reach out, consult with them, spend time with them. Then serve customers – quickly, with new solutions that use your company’s potential for empathy, innovation, and creativity to blow away fears and satisfy their ambitions and needs. Our work with clients and their customers has transformed relationships from a transactional and “fixing” focus to collaborative partnerships with a solution focus on products and services that drive growth.
Here is something else I have learned about responding versus reacting. Responding means you are listening, anticipating, and thinking about your customers. They will give you the latitude to fail forward and cheer you on to the next idea. Reacting, on the other hand, is about making something “right” and customers have little sympathy or patience for error. Which would you prefer? Over-responding versus overreacting keeps your company agile, focused on needs, and importantly, constantly relevant to your customer.
Growth potential in mindset, employees, and customers; every company has this potential in their operating model. Unlock it with these three steps and get off the tightrope of change and onto your runway to success.