by: David S. Levine
It is a common business axiom – change or die. As a small or mid-sized business owner or a manager, there will be times you will need to make changes in your organization but may not be sure how to go about it.
Change is hard to implement and even harder to sustain. Think about all of the people who have trouble sticking to a diet or quitting smoking or keeping up with an exercise program, let alone just starting. If changing yourself is hard, how can you change an entire business, organization, process or department?
As a Certified Business Coach, one of the biggest challenges my clients face is this issue of change. Did you know there are eight reasons why organizations fail to change from a lack of urgency to underestimating the power of vision to failing to create short-term wins? The eight reasons are:
Take the third reason, for example, underestimating the power of vision. A clear vision helps direct, align and inspire actions on the part of large numbers of people. Lack of vision, on the other hand, leads to lots of debate and confusion. Think about the organizations you have worked for or know. When everyone understands the vision, work gets done, employees are energized, and processes get put into place. Without a guiding vision, employees lose passion, urgency and focus. And, it is just as critical to communicate your vision – reason number four – instead of keeping it in your head. Communicate your vision to your employees, vendors and clients – often.
How can a business leader do it all – create and communicate a vision, get the work done and make a profit? Business coaches help business leaders step back and create the processes necessary to communicate and sustain their vision for their organizations by focusing on sales, marketing, systems and team building. One strategy I use is to facilitate a team alignment day. I often start out with a number of traditional and non-traditional teambuilding exercises. Then, I introduce a game called “Leverage: The Game of Business,” in which employees learn the five key areas to impacting the bottom line. By playing the game, each employee learns how he or she plays a pivotal role in making the business work and impacting its cash flow. By the end of the day, the team is aligned with the business owner’s goals as well as the team and the business manager being aligned as people. When everyone is on the same page, change can take place and things happen more efficiently and effectively.
A recent article in Fortune Magazine, entitled, Executive Coaching – With Returns a CFO Could Love, stated, "Asked for a conservative estimate of the monetary payoff from the coaching they got, these managers described an average return of more than $100,000 or about six times what the coaching had cost their companies."
My goal as a business coach is to help business owners step back and think about new and innovative ways to achieve profitability and business growth … and to do it in a way that provides a good return on investment of a business manager’s time and money. The ability to change, while remaining focused, is an integral part of this philosophy.
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