Is Your Business Stuck in the Past?

Change is probably one of the hardest things to do, yet change is inevitable.  Most of us fall in the camp of those who enjoy some change but at other times would just as soon enjoy the status quo.  Why?  Quite simply, change can be scary, uncomfortable, and uncertain.

Change Is Essential and Good

As I said, change is inevitable.  However, it is also essential and good, as without it there can be no progress.  Think about it; if your business is growing that is change.  If your profits are improving, that is change.  Of course, change can also go the other way and we regress instead of progress.  Yet, often when we find ourselves going backward it is because we have allowed change to be thrust upon us rather than created it ourselves.  In a earlier post, Forget the Macro Economy | Think Micro it was discussed how you cannot control the macro economy, so focus on the micro economy.  The micro economy includes what your company has a level of control over, so this is where you will look to make deliberate changes.

Failure to Embrace Change Reduces Progress

Here is a simple example of how refusing to change created inefficiency.  I recall a situation years ago where a company paid commissions to each of its market managers, and there were around twelve managers.  The commission was a percentage of the net profit of their market, but the profit was after deducting the commission.  Needless to say, this created a calculation of a number that was dependent upon itself.  The company had made the calculation each month by trial and error, usually requiring 5 or 6 attempts for each of the markets before getting the correct number (around 60 calculations).  The company was later provided a simple algebra formula to calculate the correct commission on the first attempt every time, reducing the process to a total of 12 calculations.  Interestingly, the controller was resistant to using the formula.  He was unwilling to “embrace change.”  It took several months of proving it worked before the controller would accept it.  Here was an example of a person who simply could not be deliberate about making change and in the process was attempting to continue an inefficient process.  In his attempt to hold on to the present he was preventing progress.

Make Change Deliberate

If you don’t want to get blindsided by change, it is important that you are deliberate about seeing what you can change for the better.  That means being willing to consider things that at first glance may seem ridiculous or far fetched.  Remember, if you are not deliberate about embracing and creating change, you are being deliberate about being changed without your consent.

3 Questions

Recently I read the book, Disciplined Dreaming by Josh Linkner.  By the way, I highly recommend it.  One of the things he suggests to help us be deliberate in our changes is to ask three questions.  In the attempt to move your company forward, ask these questions;

  1. Why?
  2. What if?
  3. Why not?

For example, when someone is suggesting a change, be ready to ask “Why?” rather than just immediately rejecting the suggestion  Be willing to step outside the accepted by encouraging people to toss out ideas in the form of “What if?”  When someone is resistant to a change, be willing to ask, “Why not?”  Of course, these questions can be used in multiple ways, but the key is that every employee be encouraged to use them on a regular basis.  These questions help make change easier and more deliberate, and that puts more control in the process of change so that you are not just along for the ride.

So here are 3 questions for you:

  1. Are you and your company deliberate about change?
  2. Is fear of or discomfort with change keeping you in the past and prohibiting progress?
  3. Are employees of your company active participants in change for the better?

One of the best ways to evaluate proposed changes is to see if they support your values (see Why You Need a Values Statement), your vision (see Why You Need a Vision Statement), and your mission or purpose (see Why You Need a Purpose or Mission Statement).

Should you like to know more, contact us at: AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.


8 Responses to “Is Your Business Stuck in the Past?”

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    • Chris S - Your Small Business CFO:

      No, we do not use Twitter yet, but probably will in the near future. In the meantime you can be alerted of new blog postings by either signing up for our RSS feed or email notification. We are happy to know you enjoy our blog and look forward to future feedback. Readers are a terrific source of inspiration and clarification.

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    • Chris S - Your Small Business CFO:

      First, thank you for visiting our site. We hope you found it useful and helpful. As to plagiarism, it has not been an issue for us. While we don’t want others to outright steal or copy our blog posts or other parts of our site, we realize people will place links to our blogs on other sites and expect credit to be given to us. Cannot think of a way to stop plagiarism completely. Frequently, something read in a book or another blog is great inspiration for a related blog. If your stuff is popping up other places, that indicates you must be writing some good stuff.

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