I think the worst thing ever said in business is, “But we have always done it that way.” Nothing is more disappointing than a business and its leaders being inflexible or unwilling to change even when the entire business world is changing around them. In fact, from 1955 to 2017, only 60 companies are still around that were on the Fortune 500 list during that span.
Of these 60 companies, what do they have in common? The ability to change. Not only change products, but grow into other sectors, sell to new industries or customers and more importantly, change the way they do business. As basketball Coach Pat Riley says, “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.” There is no middle ground and I think this applies to businesses as well.
However, change is hard, even if you are open to it because the proven way is just that, proven. Below are a few things I keep in mind when dealing with or considering change.
- Don’t dismiss new ideas right off the bat – It is easy to immediately say, we don’t need that or that would be a waste of time and resources. Remember, people once thought the laptop was a fad and would never catch on with business professionals.
- Form a tech committee – Need to keep up with the latest and greatest? Form a committee with engineers, managers and others that can convene, discuss and investigate new technologies and services to see if it could be a fit or an improvement to your business and bottom line. Find the employees that are the most passionate about new tech and software, they can research ideas and have fun doing it.
- A good old fashion suggestion box – Do I mean the wood box bolted to the wall that small slips of paper fit into? Umm No. Think of it more as a digital innovation tool, an online environment that employees can share ideas and innovations that they know will be heard and possibly funded. SharePoint and Outlook can be configured to become such a tool. Offer prizes or bonuses to employees that share ideas that become products or new practices.
- Change is good…but – If you are going to make a significant change in business or how you do business, my best advice is to plan, plan, plan – communicate, communicate, communicate – and then change. Major shifts should not happen overnight, it should be a well planned and communicated event with no surprises and with the least amount of anxiety for your employees as possible.
Let’s face it, change happens whether we want it or not. Refusing to grow or take advantage of opportunities can lead to ramifications down the road. Just ask Blockbuster Video, they could have bought Netflix for 50 million dollars, but thought it was too small and was a niche business. Now Netflix is worth over 32 billion and Blockbuster is out of business.
Do you need to change how you do business? Especially in the distribution and warehousing environments? Contact me and find out how FASCOR WMS could be the change your company needs to take the next step in growth.