Whether you are on the technical, engineering, sales or marketing side of the table, you and your team are supposed to be executing strategy faster and flawlessly.
Your handoffs keep getting sloppier and sloppier as the pace of business increases.
If you haven’t had operationally efficient processes and practices in place prior to now, you are way overdue to create them and overhaul existing ones.
Change is not a new concept. Those of us who were Total Quality Management and House of Quality practitioners worked with teams who were used to long product lifecycles and a slower pace for change.
That was before the impact of the digital millennium started creeping into your business model.
How have you embraced – or reacted to – the need for change in your own professional habits? How have you embraced – or reacted to – the need for change in your organization?
Bringing in a consultant or two to attempt to prod a resistant organization to embrace process and mindset improvement is ineffective. Change requires all-hands-on-deck acceptance in creating and executing the case for change.
Talking about the need for change and asking people, in essence, to “Just Do It” a la the Nike® slogan passes your leadership baton to some middle manager who wasn’t hired for her capacity for leadership, let alone change. Until you asked, she was busy being busy: managing metrics, not corporate culture and organizational processes.
Change is inevitable, whether you embrace or avoid it. Change is created by the passage of time, from one second to another. Time impacts the circumstances in which you engineer your business.
Asking people to react to the pace of change – and the passage of time – adds more chaos in over-taxed sales and manufacturing organizations. Asking sales people to sell more for manufacturing companies who have not assessed their own capacity to produce what is ordered compromises your sustainability.
In essence, you are telling your folks to Just Change Already. Be careful what you ask for.
Change requires a mindful and thoughtful consideration of not only what you are asking, but also why you are asking for this change from your people. Change requires a significant shift in your command-and-control business model and organizational culture to one which emphasizes a horizontal flow and cross-functional collaboration. Change requires that you understand the impact of what you are asking on the capacity and competency of your folks and your infrastructure to fulfill your goal.
Otherwise you simply are engaging in wishful thinking.
Change doesn’t happen overnight simply because your leadership team finally woke up, recognized and reacted to competitive pressure that has slowly crept into what you thought was a loyal customer base. Your infrastructure can’t move faster than your organizational Theory of Constraints allows it to. This manufacturing paradigm is applicable to your sales and marketing organizations as well.
Is your organization mindfully and thoughtfully considering Change? I hope so.
My advice: don’t shy away from Change. Make it part of your daily and proactive focus. Consider the smallest incremental changes you can make that will yield the greatest short- and long- term impacts on productivity, profitability and sustainability.
The key to change is your role. Become a partner and active participant in the organizational Change you are calling for, instead of a spectator. That’s Change Leadership. Are you up to it?
Babette N. Ten Haken is a management strategist and team-building leadership coach. She helps teams, startups and businesses who wrestle with unpredictable revenue streams. Her Workshops and Playbooks create more productive and profitable teams in healthier organizations. Her Playbook on leadership and business strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.