Mission Impossible? Leading change in successful companies.
“Our biggest barrier to change is our success,” declared a senior executive during one of my ‘Leading Change’ workshops.
Successful organisations automatically erect formidable barriers to change – with very few exceptions.
When you are the market leader; when revenues are growing year on year; when shareholders are ecstatic and when your company’s performance and your personal pay packet continues to bulge at the seams – where is the incentive to change?
Only a madman would even think about rocking that boat. And yet rock you must.
Successful companies keep doing what they have always been doing, because what they have always been doing has been so eye-watering successful. Until, suddenly, it isn’t.
In this paper (read here), I explore how to break out of this self-perpetuating and self-congratulating loop.
Step 1: Acknowledge the problem - before it becomes one.
Step 2: Action. After genuine acknowledgement of the problem, you can then move into action mode. Here are some options for you to consider.
Make continuous improvement a core part of your DNA. Encourage them to make changes, allow them to fail and celebrate the successes loud and wide.
Allow your people to (constructively) question the status quo. Then go one step further and permit them to ask, “Is there a better way?”
Ask yourselves, “What could possibly go wrong?” After all, your competitors are already asking themselves how they can eat into your market share. If you were one of your competitors, what would you do?
Start a skunkworks. Market dominators find it impossible to cannibalise their core business – strangely enough. Yet this is precisely what your competitors are attempting to do to you. So why not set up a competitor yourself?
Create a mini-crisis. If you don’t wish to start a disruptive competitor, then you need to manufacture a ‘burning platform’ for change within your organisation. The All Blacks did this back in 2010 when they lost just 2 games. They have remained number one ever since.
Remember: Stewardship is everything.
Whichever option you choose, remember one thing: The legacy of great leaders is to leave their businesses in better shape than they found them.
As the leader of a market dominator, this will be tough – but this is the task you have been handed. For if you merely manage the status quo, the business will ultimately fail.
You need to lead change.
Read and download the full article here.
All the best
Campbell Macpherson: business adviser, speaker and author of The Change Catalyst: secrets to successful and sustainable business change. 2018 Business Book of the Year.
"Packed with insight, tools and know-how to ensure your next change is the 1 in 8 that succeeds - pick up this book.” Institute of Leadership & Management
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