Adapting and change need to be written into a business’ DNA if it truly wants to thrive. For individuals change can bring us the most significant growth. Yet we all fear it because it means the unknown. Take a look at our 3 top tips on how to get the most out of change: Build it into your strategy, Look Inside and Out, and Active Listening. What could you do differently today?
“It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and to adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself. “Charles Darwin. Origin of the Species.
While we may not be talking about surviving in the true ‘Darwinian’ sense when we think of a career or a business, the same sentiment certainly stands. Another true quote which fits alongside this is from Greek philosopher Heraclitus “the only constant in life is change”.
Put these two together and the inescapable truth is that you need to able to manage change well in order to thrive. This goes for individuals and businesses in equal measure. Something is always changing, either internally within a business or you as a person or externally, within the sectors and markets in which you operate or/and in the world around you. Let’s look at the business world for this post
If adapting is key for the success of a business, then how do you do it?
1: Build it into your strategy
New businesses have it as a default setting: How can we get more customers? How can we reduce costs? How can we enter this new market? They are small, nimble, curious and hungry for more. A bit like a child!
They learn and adapt as they go while they establish their brand within their niche. It’s exciting, fast-moving and interesting.
But it’s also exhausting, often demoralising and can be costly… which is why, as a business becomes more established and comfortable, it slips into ‘business as usual’ and a ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality. More like your middle-aged uncle!
While this can offer a more reliable and stable business, it also assumes that the rest of the world in which it operates is doing the same thing – and it’s not. Even if you forget the truths spoken by Darwin and Heraclitus, it’s certain that someone else has not and their business will be adapting to meet or create the next wave of changes to come into your sector.
This is how the likes of Air BnB, Uber, Apple and Monzo got their big breaks. While the Uncles were snoozing, the kids went out to play!
So don’t get caught snoozing: build adaptation into your strategy every year.
- Give it dedicated resource, a budget, some KPIs and deliverables.
- Set up your business processes and systems to expect and it and manage it well.
- Talk about it.
- Make it part of your culture.
- Hire people who thrive in a changing environment and are hungry for continuous improvement.
2: Look Inside and Out
Inspiration can come from anywhere. Look inside and out of your business, your sector and your country.
Businesses by default have so much in common with each other: they all rely on people, they all have customers, they all need systems and processes, they all have balance sheets and stakeholders… so instead of letting the differences between your business and another put you off, seek instead for the similarities. You may just find that nugget which could be adapted for your business and could take you to the next level.
It’s also worth remembering that sometimes the biggest improvements come from internal changes. You can put in the biggest, shiniest ERP system on the market but if your order acknowledgement system still relies on hand written notes being scanned and emailed to production, then it’s not going to deliver the improvements you’re hoping for.
Consider focussing on the resources and the knowledge you have on your doorstep and within your employees before looking for external solutions. I’ve worked on many change and improvement programmes and would be happy to talk to you about critical success factors and lessons learnt.
3: Active Listening
You all know how it feels when you’re half listening to a conversation and then you’re asked your opinion, only to falter and mumble something generic.
By not actively listening and processing what’s being said, you’ve potentially missed an opportunity or even passively agreed to something you don’t believe. This is true in a business sense too.
If you want to know how to run your business better: listen to your employees. If you want to know how to improve your service or sell more product: listen to your customers. There are loads of ways to do both, just ask us.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to adapt your business, just do something that matters, better!
Adapt is part of a H.E.A.L.T.H.Y career because without it, you die, in one way or another! We all need to get a bit more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, because that’s when the change happens.
We work with businesses in a holistic way to consider how they view and manage change. By looking at systems, processes, communication, feedback and culture we work together to help integrate change as a positive force for good, rather than something to be feared. Send us a quick message and we’d be happy to chat.
Carry on reading..
Let’s look at how and why ENJOYING your work should feature in your H.E.A.L.T.H.Y. career and how businesses can benefit from improved productivity and a boost to the bottom line. It’s all about FLOW!