The newsLINK Group - Change is Inevitable

Editorial Library Category: Manufacturing Topics: Change Title: Change is Inevitable Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: When a business is working to make a profit on a day-to-day basis, it can be tempting to think things will never change and to act accordingly. But when change does come, then the changes made are, too often, reactionary ones. Editorial: Change is Inevitable 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 When a business is working to make a profit on a day-to-day basis, it can be tempting to think things will never change and to act accordingly. But when change does come, then the changes made are, too often, reactionary ones. The business leaders involved may not have adequately evaluated current needs. They might miss opportunities for improvement and growth because they did not even recognize improvement and growth was possible. In short, they were too busy maintaining the status quo. It doesn’t have to be that way. To understand change in the business world, what you need first is a model to clarify your thinking. One possible model is the idea of a wave. Most people have watched waves at some point or other. The water builds into a massive force, crashes against a beach or some rocks, and then dissipates. Business waves occur in much the same way. An opportunity occurs and is noticed. What happens next is natural. People begin to work to explore the opportunity in a focused way, and their effort begins to gather itself into a force that will achieve a particular business goal. As time goes on, needs change (possibly because of the presence of another, separate wave). The first wave becomes smaller. Whatever need was being met has disappeared, taking any business profits along with it. People who were making a living because of the first wave begin to panic; sometimes they don’t act, and sometimes they act inconsistently. Old habits and behaviors, a loss of focus, changing priorities, and a lack of energy all begin to stop the upward momentum. The decline has started, but it isn’t all that obvious yet because it hasn’t gained enough downward momentum. This is not the time to give up; this is actually the best time to make changes. Action at this point is easier, and less costly, than it will be later as far as maintaining existing gains is concerned. It is also a good time to set and achieve new goals. If a company decides instead not to act, then the results will eventually be devastating. The company may end up in worse shape than it was when it began to ride the wave. Motivation and resiliency might be destroyed, making a rebound unlikely. The result can be one less company in the world to provide people with the means of making a living. Consider a couple of illustrations that demonstrate what not to do. Call the first example Company A, which recently introduced a new product line. Management set an incentive program in place to get the attention (and support) of its sales force. The results were excellent. The motivated sales force was so successful that the new product line got an excellent start. Management let the incentive program end, but didn’t replace it with anything else. The sales people stop pushing as hard to sell the new product line and start working harder to sell other product lines that had been successful for them in the past. Predictably, sales dropped for the new product line. The second, more serious example comes from the real world: the now-defunct mega-bookstore chain named Borders that was started by two brothers, Tom and Louis Borders, in 1971. During its prime, Borders sold a wide selection of books and CDs and became a community gathering place for book lovers. The business model was hugely successful, and the company made money. As the company grew, people were hired as managers who knew how to run department stores and grocery stores. They did not understand how to run a bookstore. They tried to make the stores uniform, and only succeeded in making them bland. Management stumbled with bad investments, too many buildings, and too much employee turnover. Then Amazon began to grow, with its combination of cheap books and excellent service. Apple began selling the iPod in October 2001. Amazon and Barnes & Noble started to sell e-books and e-readers; the first Kindle was sold in November 2007, the first Nook in November 2009. Digital music that could be downloaded in just minute or two had already begun to reshape the music industry, and digital books began to do the same thing to the book industry. Not only were Borders’ individual stores not making money, the cost of keeping them open started to be punitive. The company declared bankruptcy, but nobody wanted to buy. By September 2011,