Is it time to re-invent or transition your business?
The world is a different place than it was in 1980. If you have been in business for more than twenty years and are dong things they way you did when you started or even just five years ago – beware – times are changing faster than at any time in history and it’s only going to get worse do you have a choice – circle the wagons and keep doing what you have been doing for years or let go of conventional wisdom, sacred cows and traditional thinking and reinvent – yourself, your business, your association, your church – everything – or accept being left behind and losing everything.
Over the years I have worked with many organizations who for whatever reasons, decided that they needed to re-invent itself in order to remain a competitive and profitable enterprise in the marketplace.
During the same period, I have also observed hundreds of organizations that obviously needed to re-invent themselves but for whatever reasons failed to do so. Let’s take a brief look at five of the critical areas that will have an impact on this process and will determine whether your re-invention is an exercise in futility or a successful transition.
What do I mean when I use the term - re-invent/transition?
Re-invent, re-discover, re-new, start over, begin again – the terms do not matter, what does are the attitudes, values, prejudices, opinions, expectations, fears, needs, desires and values of the owner or senior management who will ultimately drive the process. Having said that, to me, when an organization needs to re-invent itself, for whatever reason, it implies that what was or used to be, is no longer working, effective, profitable or competitive. It is time for one or more new: policies, strategies, structures, methods, procedures, expectations, rules, behaviors, leadership, direction, focus and even employees – and probably all of them.
When is the right time to re-invent/transition your organization?
My experience tells me, that, the pain for management or the organization has to be significant enough, however this pain is manifested, before executives or management becomes willing to set a new course and transition its organization. Unfortunately, because of; arrogance, ignorance, ego or all of the three, many organizations either never do it or recognize the need far too late and become just another business statistic or illustration of a bad example in some author’s book. The time to re-invent is before you need to. The time to do it is every year - at a minimum and maybe even every month. Better to regularly condition your employees for consistent constructive and positive change and growth than to try and turn a battleship (your organization) around in a small harbor in twenty minutes with a less than motivated staff because they are not ready, equipped, motivated or interested in doing so.
How do you re-invent/transition your organization?
Let’s see if I can summarize one of my all-day seminars here in just a few sentences. If you are not willing to seriously embrace, at a minimum, each of these steps, I recommend you save your money and let the market place decide your ultimate fate.
1) You must be willing to let go of the day-to-day details that will drive this process.
2) You must lock your ego and your prejudices and expectations in the closet.
3) You must be committed to see the process through to its conclusion, no matter how long it takes or what it costs.
4) You must empower your management team to implement and inspect the transition process - you can’t do it alone and still run the business. If you can you have bigger problems than this transition, believe me.
5) You don’t lose your tradition al or fundamental values.
6) You must trust your employees to pull the transition off.
7) You need to lead the process, not manage it.
8) You need to accurately assess your; willingness to change, let go, delegate, empower and live with the consequences.
9) You should hire an outside resource to ensure that the above items are adhered to. Your employees are not going to do it all without some impartial guidance and/or creativity.
10)You need to be an encourager and a champion of this process in both easy and hard times.
11) There’s a lot more, trust me but you would be amazed at how few organizations can do most or even in some cases any of the above.
Who should be involved in the re-invention/transition process?
This one is easy - anyone who can contribute ideas, reality, information, inspiration, creativity, value, feedback, accountability, integrity or support to the process and I mean everyone.
What will the new organization look like after the re-invention/transition process is complete?
It’s anyone’s guess. In a rapidly changing world it is becoming increasingly difficult if not impossible to accurately forecast future outcomes. All you can do is remain flexible, open, receptive and willing to make change your partner and the partner of your organization.
So, it’s a choice – stay stuck and hope you survive or reinvent and get ahead or at a minimum stay with the trends and the curves ahead.