Change is inherent in all parts of our lives, both on personal and professional levels. As a global economy, we are increasingly faced with political and economic challenges, which may affect any business at any time. The subsequent need to implement change may cause disruption in your organization, coupled with a high level of stress.
So, how can you and your organization position itself so it is better able to pivot in the face of change?
- Know and acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses-No organization is perfect. Everyone has strengths and core competencies, but all have weaknesses too. Continue to invest, utilize and capitalize in those strengths and core competencies. As far as weaknesses go, know and acknowledge them too. Assess and determine how to mitigate them, whether it is hiring staff with specialized skills, investing in additional professional development for your staff or potentially outsourcing a specific function.
- Maintain a robust Marketing unit-Whether your industry is a large or a niche one, it is critical to have at minimum a foundational Marketing unit. Marketing, both research and sales, are your ears to the ground and that is the key venue for knowing what is happening in your industry, aside from customer feedback.
- Know your competitors-Every organization has competitors. It is super critical to know the identity of your competitors. It is ideal to have a person(s), preferably in Marketing or other similar unit, who is dedicated to competitive intelligence. With the prevalence of online advertising and use of social media, lots of useful information can be easily obtained to keep your organization in the know.
- Promote professional development-Ensure that your organization not only offers professional development for your staff, but most importantly promotes it. Your managers should know how to develop and promote employees. Promotion of professional development opportunities will only make your organization stronger in addition to motivating your employees to excel either in their current position or enable them to move on to better ones. It will only lead to higher staff retention.
- Diversify your workforce-Depending on the size of your organization, diversify your workforce where you can. Different ethnicities, educational backgrounds and varying work experiences will strengthen your organization’s talent and knowledge base. In the face of disruption, diversity can be your friend since it brings a multitude of different perspectives and in some situations, will make change within your organization more tolerable.
- Evaluate your strategy-Periodic evaluation of your business strategy is key. A shift in your organization’s strategy may be needed given the fluctuation in external circumstances. In addition, how diverse in your product portfolio? What is your organization’s focus? Domestic, international or both? Is your organization’s livelihood highly dependent on a core group of products or does your portfolio follow a more distributed model?
- Culture-Is your organizational culture a change friendly one or one that is adverse to change and disruption? For the latter, it would be ideal to bring in some talent with change management experience so when the time comes, your organization has the necessary tools to mitigate risks and handle any potential impacts. This is another area where having a diverse workforce could be beneficial.
Have you had any recent experiences in your organization where gradual or sudden changes were needed? If so, was it disruptive to a department or most your organization?