By Danita Johnson Hughes
These days, it seems the words “business” and “change” go hand in hand. From dealing with regulatory changes and economic shifts to responding to new customer demands and emerging technologies, sudden and externally mandated changes affect companies of all sizes.
When change is forced upon you, making the shift is often more stressful and difficult than when you thoughtfully decide to take your company in a new direction. After all, making a change that you plan for is exciting and filled with opportunity, while making a change due to outside forces is filled with risk and unpredictability.
Unfortunately, most organizations resist these externally mandated changes and are slow to respond. They fear the risk involved and, as a result, they miss many opportunities. Change under external circumstances is scary because you often don’t know if the modifications you’re making are going to work. Additionally, the change may mean you have to alter your company’s values or culture, and those sorts of alterations don’t come easy.
Assess Your Company’s Talent Potential
When dealing with externally motivated change, a good leader needs the emotional maturity to maximize and leverage the strengths of the people within the company. Take the time to assess the people who work for you and the skill sets they have, and then determine how the company can best use them to make the change successful. Most employers overlook the talent that’s right under their nose and think they need to look outside for the skills necessary to move the company forward. Chances are some of your employees will have developed new abilities and strengths since originally hired.
Hire People Who Know More Than You Do
Often those charged with staffing don’t want to hire anyone who’s strong, assertive or more knowledgeable than they are. They think these new hires will make them look bad, or worse, take their job. In reality, if you hire people who are strong and know more than you do, you’re going to fare better during the change process. Realize that when the company does well, everyone looks good, not just one person. However, if the organization fails, people typically look for one person to blame—usually the leader. The only way your company can sustain its momentum during and after the change is to have strong people on board.