Change is inevitable in business

The rate of change is accelerating in our business environment. While change can be good or bad depending on your perspective or circumstances, it’s important to identify it early to avoid being left behind.

You can bet that your competitors are evaluating change to gain market share, create new markets, and limit risk. One example is Uber, which created a disruption in the taxi industry and is now considering a Christmas tree delivery service. This company is using the rapid pace of change to its advantage.

Consider how the following technologies might impact your business: Apple’s new payment system, electronic signatures, three dimensional printing, drones, cloud computing, “green” technology, social media, cyber security, and integrated reporting and budgeting systems. These items affect almost every business in some way.

At the same time, you are also likely impacted by industry specific changes. I’d be shocked if your industry operated today the same way it did 20 years ago. And maybe even five years ago. What this means is that change management must be an integral part of your strategic planning process. Done the right way, it can positively impact cash flow and earnings and maximize your company’s value.

Here are six ideas to incentivize change in your organization:

  1. Recruit the best talent you can afford, particularly for front line employees. These are the team members your customers and prospects see and interact with every day.
  2. Foster an atmosphere of constant learning and share your knowledge with customers and prospects. Write papers and blog posts, take public speaking engagements, etc. Hire employees with intellectual curiosity who can identify new opportunities and risks within your organization.
  3. Develop knowledge repositories in your organization. Consumers and customers have a wealth of information at their fingertips. They are looking for companies that can add value. Prospects will still play golf and will be entertained for dinner or lunch but to win their business, you need to demonstrate your expertise and add value to their organizations.
  4. As leaders, communicate why change is vital. Don’t leave it to your audience to guess why your change initiatives are important.
  5. Foster volunteerism. What better way is there to enhance your public speaking skills and meet new and interesting people than volunteering your time and talents? If you are truly genuine in your desire to help others, they won’t forget it.
  6. Don’t crucify those who make mistakes. Everyone in business has made mistakes. How we learn from these mistakes and move forward is what is most important.

We would be interested to hear your ideas.

David Shaffer, Kreischer MillerDavid E. Shaffer is a director with Kreischer Miller and a specialist for the Center for Private Company Excellence. Contact him at Email


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