Is your company really ready for change? Let’s think about this for a minute. Change is everywhere; you can’t get away from it. I don’t care if you’re a big business or a small business. The size of your business might have something to do with your rate of change, yet change is inevitable. Really, I think it always has been, it just seems to be happening faster here in the 21st century.
But are you REALLY ready? Have you even thought about that? I came across this question at a seminar in 2007 with Vision Force Academy. Now this was about personal change, and I believe everything in your personal life applies in your business and the question came up the night before the seminar started: “Are you ready?”. And of course we’re all excited, there are 30 of us from around the world, and the question came up—are you ready? We were all excited and we said: “yeah, we’re ready! Bring it on!”, and Michael Skye looked at us and said “How do you know you’re ready?”. Of course we came up with our instant answers, “yeah, we’re ready”, “I want to know about this”, blah, blah, blah. We gave him all of the answers we could come up with. And he kept saying the same questions—how do you know you are ready?
Thinking about this from the company point of view, change is going to happen. There have been many authors writing about it, you can read all about it on the internet, the options seem endless. My question goes deeper than all of that. Are you REALLY ready? Have you thought through everything that could come up when you are going through change, whether the choice is yours or the change is mandated? It’s going to happen. There is a merger, there is an acquisition, or it may be your choice. Whatever the cause, change will happen. So again I ask—are you ready?
Have you thought through all of the possible consequences of this change? Do you know the styles of your people and how they might react to change? Have you figured out which ones are going to give you the most resistance? Have you prepared them to handle the change in ways that they can accept it? Or are they going to go bury their heads in the sand and say: “I don’t want to play.”
What about the ones who are really eager for it? These people tend to go so fast that they don’t see upcoming consequences, they don’t see what they have missed, and they ride right over certain facts that may be vitally important. There are several different styles. The play of change is fun for some of them. They make it a game and then their opposites show up and say : “What are all having so much fun about? Don’t you know this is serious business?” There all many different ways people react to change. Are you ready to understand and guide them? Are they ready?
Have you thought through how long it is going to take and how long some of these people are going to take to change? How long is it going to take for them to accept it? How many people won’t weather the storm? Which ones are you likely to lose? Have you done anything with them to save them or keep them, or do you even want to? Sometimes with these kinds of changes attrition is going to happen. This can be good or this can be bad. A poorly handled change causes “A” players to go find a place to work that they feel is better for them. You need to include these players and leaders in the cause for change. Have you? Have you really brought all of them in and said: “How are we going to implement this? Who do you thing in your department is at the biggest risk for leaving? Who do you think is going to have the most trouble accepting change? Who is going to stand behind us as we are moving and when we get there? Who is going to be left at the end?” Have you thought these questions through? If not you may be in for some rude surprises and holes to fill. Are you ready for all of that? How do you know?
Most of the time we can easily see all of the benefits of the change, and, yes, there will be some hardship But look at all of the gain we are going to make. Along the way it can turn into a totally different path. You will come up with things you had not expected nor intended. Are you ready for that? How do you know? Are you ready to dig down deep into the hearts and souls of the people and say: “Let’s do this! Can we do this? Can you help us? Are you ready to do that? “
When we were at the seminar it came to this. “Are you (am I) ready to dig down deep in your soul and really look at who you have been, who you are, who you are for other people and who they are for you? Are you willing to take a stand for yourself and everything you believe in?”
Are you willing to stand up and weather the storms for your company’s values and traditions and what it is becoming? Are you ready to get beat up, because you will at times feel beat up, if not by somebody else you will beat yourself up. You will question everything. Are you ready for that? Are you really ready? If you choose change, it is really important that you think about those things. If change is thrown at you, you had better think about them really fast as you won’t have much time. Put out some signals, some watch towers, something watching for the people for those who need assistance and support with it and lose who are at risk for leaving. Maybe they need some coaching or some one on one time. What is the water cooler (or smoke break) gossip? Are your people ready for change, and are you?
If you are in the midst of it and you are a leader, how are how going to handle it? How are you handling it? What does it mean for you? What does it mean for your family? What about the families of the employees? Do they have to readjust around longer hours, more stress, or harder work; do you have to move? Are you ready? Are they ready? These are questions that should not be slighted when looking at any kind of change, business or personal, big or small, because everybody is affected that is part of the change. Not just them, their friends, their employees, social community and the like. Change can change everything.
So ask your question many times, deeply—ARE YOU READY?