Stop And Change When Necessary

One of my favourite sayings is:

If the horse is dead, dismount"


There are people in business and life everywhere who find it hard to recognise when the horse is dead!

The current economic market either stalls companies or they make changes. This is a great time to market differently or stand out in a different way.

I have experienced many difficult times but have seen the businesses that make changes succeed, then grow and accelerate in the good times that follow.

People have asked
‘How do I know whether to persist or stop and change?’

1. Go back to the original vision and purpose

If your original vision is the right one, don’t throw it out - look at what you are actually doing to fulfil that vision. The purpose does not change, however the methods we use do. In advertising when a retail promotion for McDonalds did not work we did not persevere we made changes and moved on, the character of McDonald’s family restaurants did not change, just the one promotion.

2. Change is inevitable - so GET USED TO IT!

If you want to build anything to last - a business, a strong family, a company department, a powerful life-testimony – it will need room to grow, to change and evolve in the process. If you don’t change your work practices as you grow –e.g. if you keep the same products and packaging, the same programs or services without variation, stifle people in their jobs by not allowing them to grow and develop, then things will either stagnate and die, you will lose customers, or you will lose your most promising staff to other businesses where they can grow.

If you want a bigger business, you will need to look at constant ways to change and improve, nothing stays the same forever

3. See change as your friend

A sign we saw recently on a local church read

You can’t control the wind but you have to adjust the sails"

Don’t be afraid to do things differently, change can be challenging at first but it’s also exciting, it brings freshness and life.

  • Look positively at what is working in your business and what is not.
  • Are the things you are currently doing fulfilling the vision and purpose originally set?
  • Are they working but need some adjustments – could they be better?
  • Are there things you are not currently doing that should be explored?
  • What about your staff or team members – do they have insights and suggestions that need to be actioned?
  • Are there creative 'One Off' ideas to try for short periods to gain momentum?

4. Develop a culture of change

If the business has operated for some time without innovation and development it becomes difficult to introduce anything new or kill off anything that isn’t productive. People become very protective of their jobs.
How do you develop a culture of change – one where people are not threatened?

  • Inspire the team - make sure your team are on board with the vision and purpose.
  • Keep them up-to-date with progress.
  • Get them involved in working out better ways to do things.
  • There are changes that just HAVE to be made where individual staff are creating morale issues.
  • Introduce changes needed over a period of time, and structure your business so that it can grow and change with minimal disruption.
  • Get people used to the fact that there will be constant change in order to see the vision and purpose achieved.
  • Celebrate – enjoy the journey!

There are times you will need to draw a line in the sand and start afresh. If you try to band-aid over or skirt the problems they will get worse.

5. Don’t change for change's sake

Not everything has to be changed. Beware of throwing out your purpose and direction for the sake of innovation. Look critically at your business or organization

  • Are you doing too many things?
  • Are there areas that need to be axed?
  • Do you need to re-launch an area?
  • Or simply have a cosmetic change – eg. design work or the décor of the reception area.
  • Is there need for specific staff training?

Whatever the innovations make sure they are moving you in the right direction for your life and business.

Peter Irvine
www.peterirvine.com
Peter is Co-Founder of Gloria Jean’s Coffees, author of "Win In Business", speaker and business consultant.

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