The difference between embracing change and chasing it is the difference between an employee and a leader.
The typical employee is there to support change. Managers are there to embrace change. Leaders are the ones actually pursuing and driving this change. However, if you structure your organization right, everyone should be a leader in some respect-- and that means is that everyone should be advocating for change at some level.
Why Change Is Essential
To achieve truly great things, you have to experiment. Let's say you have a theory about something: how to do something new, fix something that's broken, or improve something lackluster. If you don't change things (experiment), how can you ever make things better (find out the outcome of your test)? You don't have to know what the results will be to make a change. In fact, you usually won't know what outcome to expect. That's the compelling thing about change--you often end up with a result you would never expect.
Now, I'm not talking about making change for the sake of change--although sometimes that can be the case. Rather, it's about making change when something feels broken, could be better, or even just because you're curious. Either way, it's a cliche, but the saying, "change is as good as rest" holds true.
Obviously, you don't want "change anarchy" happening -- it has to be controlled. The best change uses a framework and is carefully considered and measured, starting with a hypothesis or goal in mind.
When creating change, one thing that works really well for us at Ceros is to not only think of the current goal, but to also tie our experiments back to our company's overarching why. If you're not sure what to change, think back to your "why." This will remind you what you're doing and what needs to change to better serve that purpose.
Practical Ways to Make Change Happen
As someone who is a compulsive change-seeker, here are a few practical ways I make change happen within my business.
- Force change by rearranging your office space. When you put new people together, it can lead to unexpected collaboration and new ideas.
- Push people outside their comfort zone. Sometimes, positive agitation is what's needed to stir up positive change.
- Ask controversial questions. These surprising and important questions can lead to bigger changes that need to happen.
- Ask about the elephant in the room. Addressing unspoken issues head-on can often break down whatever barriers are in the way of change.
- Ask what employees are least happy about. This feedback can help you see where change is needed within your organization.
- Ask someone a question on a topic outside their purview. Hearing a different perspective, even if it's not an expert one, can spark a new idea for change.
One important thing to note: Vulnerability is required in order for change to really take hold. Without it, your executives and employees will never feel comfortable enough to push for change when it's needed.
Today's world of business has evolved. Gone are the days of making more money simply by providing a solid product or service. Now, the most successful companies are built on a desire to bring forth positive changes in the world. This kind of mission attracts smart, autonomous, creative people who can help you solve tough challenges in an innovative way. On top of that, it requires leaders who are catalysts for change throughout the organization.