Change is inevitable, but progress is not

What’s not so clear is whether change brings about progress. Regardless, it is important for bosses to face these changes head on and ensure they receive maximum return on investment and business growth in order to keep ahead of competitors.

Below, I suggest three ways in which companies can help ensure this happens:

(1) Don’t be afraid of change

When we come up against something unfamiliar, whether in the workplace or home, we face the fight or flight response.

Our automatic thoughts are to shy away, but in order to succeed, employers need to face any change and tackle it head on. Thinking ahead to what the company could look like in response to change, helps leaders create a future where employees can continue to be productive and efficient come what may.

A number of companies have done just this and have come out smiling. Perhaps the most striking example is IKEA. It faced challenge after challenge throughout its existence, from a flood of mail order firms entering the market, leading management to open the first store and supplier boycotts leading to the advent of flat-packed furniture.

(2) Promote innovation

During times of uncertainty, opportunities for employees to be creative, innovative and suggest new ideas often go out of the window because business managers are too preoccupied with dealing with the change, whilst employees are more concerned about job security and pay.

However, it’s important to emphasise the need for continued innovation and creativity, as without it the organisation will quickly lose their market share. It can be easy to try and avoid risky new ideas when all about you is changing, but this is the very time when your business needs to innovate.

(3) Concentrate on the long-term goals, not the short-term problems

When businesses face challenges such as changes in regulations or market conditions, the first response is normally to concentrate on the short-term effects and forget about long-term growth.

Focussing on the future not only keeps managers and leaders in a positive mind set, but also allows employees to feel motivated towards achieving the end goals, which helps them to overcome any bumps in the road that might arise.

So, when it comes to changes in the workplace, take the opportunity to ensure it results in real progress rather change for change’s sake.

Stephen Fortune is principal consultant at The Oxford Group

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