Leadership During Change

Change is inevitable, but how we manage change can often define us.

Adrian Davis, recently spoke about the need to harness change within a business’ culture and his powerful lessons should be used by all of us during periods of change. Often during times of great change we focus on the business crunch, the numbers, and forget about the soul of a business: its culture.

What is culture to a business?

If you’re in a position of leadership you’ve certainly heard the word. You probably even have a pretty comprehensive understanding of what the term means. Culture is how you run your business. It’s your business practices, values and beliefs. It’s the community built around your organization and customers. Every company culture is different because every business is different. During times of change, culture often shifts as well.

Will it be positive? Can you maintain the best of your current culture? How can you avoid detrimental changes?

To understand how change is affecting your business culture, you need to fully grasp the change being undertaken. Be it changing communication systems, customer service strategies, updating policies, company goals, or employees, as a business leader you need to watch for signals that the change will also impact your organization’s culture.

Creating a culture involves aligning goals. The perfect culture will align the goals of your customer, the goals of your employees, and your goals as well. Find out what these goals are and how they best fit together. The best way to find these goals is to encourage open, unfettered communication, and welcome collaboration. It’s the first step to a better culture, and a better business.

You can manage your culture in a number of different ways:

First,

…begin to build your company’s culture straight from the hiring process. Hire for passion and commitment, hire for fit in the culture you’re developing or maintaining, and hire for experience.

Second,

…define your values and communicate them to everyone in your business. Maintaining your values during change depends on how well you can articulate them. Find out what your customer values are and see where common ground exists.

Third,

…your employees need to continue exploring skills, techniques, programs, and technologies that will make them more valuable and keep your business relevant.

Fourth,

…collaboration is critical to innovation, trust building, and a successful company culture. Employees and customers become more invested in your organization when they feel listened to, and listening is the first step towards collaboration.

Finally,

…make sure to examine your relationships with customers during periods of change. Ensure that changes within your organization don’t have negative impacts on those relationships and that your customer service strategy fits your company’s culture.

During times of change, leadership can mean the difference between success and failure, so “don’t let change control you; you control the change.”
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