There is one word—only six letters long—that can scare the bejeezus out of people. And what’s funny about this word is that everybody knows it and uses it all the time!
That term, of course, is C-H-A-N-G-E.
You’d think that six letters would be nice and even – you know, balanced, but oh no, not these six. They throw everything and everyone OUT OF BALANCE.
Well, almost everyone. True leaders are the exception. They may feel a bit wobbly, but when faced with change, true leaders embrace and excel! They know how to create it, face it, push, pull and grind through it, and use it to make things better. And, when they make it work, they are flush with satisfaction and pride. Working through change is a reward for them.
And of course there’s another exception: people hate change except when it benefits them! It would be a big change to win the lottery, after all, but that doesn’t sound too bad…
Back to more common changes. How do leaders make it work when CHANGE throws so many into a vortex of turmoil? They start at the very beginning with these five steps to introduce change—by being champions of the process of transformation.
- Change champions build a reputation as a change champion in advance. They are known as long-time proponents of change.
- Change champions help people see the current situation clearly and completely.
- Change champions help people see a postchange vision.
- Change champions provide or help develop clear first steps.
- Change champions are optimistic about the change and its progress without being a Pollyanna.
(Source: Remarkable Leadership by Kevin Eikenberry)
Now, have you ever noticed that truly successful small business owners are change-makers? They have to be. They have got to embrace change and manage it well in order to grow. As a solopreneur or a start-up, growth is all about change and in those initial stages, change happens every day and you, as the leader of the organization, have to roll with it. If you don’t, well, THIS happens:
Recently I met the owner of a small business in one of the towns just outside Indy. He was the only business of his kind for at least a 50 mile radius from his office – and he’d been in business for nearly 20 years. He was doing “ok.”
He was paying his bills and getting by. But wanted more. So what was the problem? He didn’t really like to deal with new things – the Internet, social media, he didn’t even have a website. He wasn’t keen on networking, either. He relied on word-of-mouth to generate new customers. That would be okay, I guess, if his business was one that was a consumable that people came back to regularly to restock. But his business was one where once he installed his product, you wouldn’t need him for another 25 or 30 years unless you moved to a new residence.
He had developed a status quo and nestled himself—and his business—into it. No ripples, no change, no growth.
If You Run and Hide, You Lose Out!
Where do you fall on the change and growth continuum? You don’t have to let C-H-A-N-G-E throw you in a tizzy or under the bus—you CAN manage it and USE it to GROW—yourself and your business. It’s your decision.
So the next time something new comes along, don’t shake your fists or put your head in the sand. Change is coming. It always does. And people who are ready for it are those that have most success.
Now: go and deal with something new!