When in the face of change – grow or decay

Lynda St-Arneault – 26 September 2017

Change is a permanent state; an uninterrupted succession of events that occur and are linked together, stimulated by the internal and external environments of organizations.

Change is inherent to the growth and survival of organizations. It also stimulates innovation at various levels and within the different functions of the company.

I’m not referring to change as if I were a specialist on the subject because I am not. I am, however, an observer and an active participant in many changes over the course of my 30 years in business. I’ve witnessed or have had to negotiate many changes. The reasons I am invited to participate are: growth, new product development or new markets, adoption of IT for sales and marketing, new orientation and strategic positioning and, helping organizations cope with a paradigm shift in their marketing.

Communication to manage change

I have witnessed unsuccessful changes and many that have succeeded because, over and above their healthy “management of transformation” and all the strategic and operational aspects, proper communication had been implemented beforehand and had remained a constant throughout.

The decision makers requested advice from their specialists on the “view” of what they wanted to change or transform and, continued this exchange throughout the transformation by adopting the comments or opinions along the way. These were selected based on relevance. Egos were in service of the project and not the reverse.

Changes are possible when they are executed with respect, and through a clear vision and leadership that listens, and that allows mutual assistance and collaboration. Dialogues of the deaf are unfortunately the way some managers work. These lead only to frustration and power games with self-serving interests.

An ecosystem ready for change

Important company issues are the driving forces of change and are far from being only financial imperatives. A company’s ecosystem creates both its strengths and weaknesses. All functions in a business must be questioned as to whether they are called to play a role in the change and how it can be played. It is imperative to involve people not only to get them to come out of their silos but also because they hold a lot of information. From their vantage points, they have unique and valuable suggestions for optimization.  It would be a loss for the company to be deprived of its own knowledge!

As our organizations are constantly challenged by change, we need to be:

  • Informed: research and monitoring on a systematic basis, with methodological rigor. This requires the right tools and performance indicators;
  • Alert and agile: ready to adapt to changes. As you have internal and external data, you will be more confident in your decisions
  • Open-minded: the road may be quite different from what was expected
  • Surround yourself with the best: common sense.

I’ll stress communication again because it helps stay on track and maintain focus. If it is absent or deficient, it can generate a lot of conflict.

Essentials for successful change

In order to maintain or create harmony and balance, here is my best definition of the communication characteristics that I find effective:

Integrity, it helps eliminate doubt

Attention to the time of others, they are as important as you;

Honesty; speaking without a hidden agenda.

Don’t take advantage of others. It’s weak and ultimately,  it will do a disservice to the cause. It is a self-serving dead end.

… and trust, not mistrust, should be the basic premise.

Here at Exo B2B, we are currently going through a crucial period of change, and it is very exciting.

I wish you all the same!

 

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