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Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher, said so change is natural and constant. Nowhere is this adage more vivid than in the business world; the australiabusinessblog.com’s origin story is built on change.
Recently, Frontier Airlines made a change by removing the customer service phone number. This allows customers to find solutions through digital channels. With this change, the customer experience will completely transform, creating a significant difference in the organization. This approach enables Frontier Airlines to discover insights that can inform, validate and challenge its strategy.
Making a bold choice like this can be difficult, which is why many leaders and founders struggle with change.
Related: Would you rather change or let your business die?
Why is change so difficult for a growing company?
Many companies insist on leaving transformational leadership to a small group of senior leaders or change managers rather than making it part of their team’s mission statement. Perhaps because change is so critical at the start of any venture – the shoddy australiabusinessblog.com has to disrupt, innovate, sell his house and live in a basement. Then a company’s relationship is about to change.
A well-known disappointment for business leaders is the feeling of slowing down as they grow. The profile of people who start and join a small business differs greatly from those who join as the business grows and becomes more stable. Stability becomes the preferred option and inertia the enemy.
The demands of a company’s growth phase can reveal unproductive relationships of individuals to change. These relationships can be established in three categories. Recipients of change believe that change is being done to them. Change resistances believe they can wait out the change, and change controllers ultimately believe they can plan and manage their way through it. Being big doesn’t have to mean being slow or putting change on the back burner, and entrepreneurs can overcome these unproductive attitudes.
Organizations that grow most sustainably continue to disrupt throughout all growth phases. The ability to continue to adapt and outperform the changes of the external environment requires leaders who are ready for change at all levels.
What are the benefits of an organization ready for change?
Companies with change-ready teams can more easily meet and rise above the challenges of their environment than teams that rely on top-down change management. Companies that insist on entrusting change only to a select few leaders will undoubtedly encounter a lack of change, engagement, diversity and connection with customers. We have already established that change is constant, and leadership should reflect that to have a culture ready for change.
This distinguishes leaders who are ready for change:
- They are more involved. They understand that emotional agreement precedes strategic alignment, so they try to get everyone’s voice on the table.
- They adapt better. They are open to the conflicting views and assumptions of their teams and can adapt to the increasing changes in the environment.
- They lead with a mindset of reciprocity. They know that diverse teams generate even stronger ideas that consider key risks and get their teams thinking from the customer’s perspective.
That is perhaps the most important benefit of developing team members who are ready for change researchers believe that “employees’ attitudes toward change are important predictors of organizational change success.” People who view change as a constant and necessary source of opportunity are best positioned to turn change into positive forces for their organization.
Related: How to better manage corporate culture in times of transition
How can leaders nurture a willingness to change?
Instead of managing change from the top down, leaders may find that a more sustainable way to stay ready for change is to involve the whole team. How can leaders begin to cultivate a mindset ready for change? among team members? Here’s a playbook of initial strategies to try:
1. Accept that change is not linear
Change is messy. It progresses one day and regresses the next. Many leaders assume that periods of change in their company are followed by periods of calm or that the change will eventually come to an end. This is a misconception; company is change, and creating conditions for readiness for change will be more sustainable than making temporary preparations to handle a specific change.
Leaders therefore need to adjust their mindset around change in their company. At BTS, we know that change is no longer an individual sport, but a team sport. Rather than a few elite surfers trying to ride the waves, we see change more like whitewater rafting, where everyone has to work together to make it through the waves.
2. Build awareness about your own relationship to change
Before you can successfully lead someone through change, you must increase your own self-awareness of your productive and less productive responses. This begins with a biological reality: While change is coming at us faster and more frequently than at any time in human history, we are biologically wired to respond to change as a threat. In the past, lions, tigers and bears were the threats to our existence; in the modern, changing world, threats are things like looking bad, being wrong, or losing control.
The first step any organization can take to build more readiness for change is to help each leader understand their beliefs around change and provide them with new tools and approaches to be more effective. This is the approach we took at a Fortune 200 company that, in anticipation of significant structural changes for the organization, equipped all 50,000 employees with new tools and techniques to build resilience and be ready for change.
Related: 5 key ways to create a culture of innovation
3. Involve your team in taking responsibility for change
Identify the critical moments your organization faces in leading change and align to what change-ready behavior looks like at any given time. Cultivating a team of change-ready leaders means engaging team members in what change entails. Share the goals and results of strategic direction meetings so you have time to hear all perspectives and test different ideas on the front lines. Invite people to tackle those challenges themselves in their role, so that they feel ownership of the crucial moments when change happens one day.
To support this team-level ownership, change your behavior in the smaller moments that matter most. Support this by creating the social networks and support structures that enable a full-scale mindset, giving each level and department the opportunity to take ownership of its readiness for change.
Change is constant and it is a team sport. No leader or manager can bring about change on his own and expect it to serve the entire organization and a whole world of customers. Sustainable, successful change comes from a collective of people who are positive about change: a team of leaders who are ready for change.