A conclusion for how Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers!

We made it. The final chapter of an odd business blog series somehow loosely related to cows. For this final blog post in this series, I thought a quick recap of our books-1850645_1920.jpgmajor takeaways was in order. So without further ado…

Sacred Cow Grilling Tips…

  1. People within a business will either allow for change or reject it entirely.
  2. You can’t get people to agree to change they need to want it.
  3. To be the best you need to create change not respond to it.
  4. Change is a constant process, to stop changing is to stop doing business.
  5. Be a beginner, ask stupid questions and challenge the status quo.
  6. A group of people does not a team make. Develop and motivate teams.
  7. Working too fast doesn’t get more work done, it creates poor work and less of it. Not to mention the breakdown in thinking and communication.
  8. Don’t play by other people’s rules. Make your own.
  9. You’ve got to risk it for the proverbial biscuit. Don’t play to not lose, make mistakes and learn.
  10. The customer deserves more than to be happy, surprise them.
  11. The fanciest gadget and tech is not always the best.
  12. Meet with purpose and direction, not for refreshments.
  13. Foster trust and focus on possibilities. Never limit or intimidate yourself or your employees.
  14. Encourage change and enable readiness. Don’t let fear dictate decisions.
  15. Inspire and empower your employees and get passionate work in return.
  16. Each person brings their own strengths and weaknesses, know them and use them.
  17. Create change but don’t force it. Keep the challenge and resources in balance.
  18. You can learn or teach how to be better at change. We all have the capacity within us.

Caution: The trappings of change


Pains of Change

As we wind this blog down to its final postings I thought it best to provide a somewhat cautionary blog post about not going too big too soon. Change in the workplace can be very good but too much too soon is going to cause a big problem. The problems associated with change fall into two main categories: too much change and not enough.

Innovation and change drive big business leads to breakthroughs and can lead to high profits and high spirits. But you can’t do it all at once. Think about the financial news section and reading about two big companies merging. That kind of undertaking is monumental and the stress involved can be too if you try to do it too fast or with too little resources. Consider this simple equation for keeping change in a positive place and not a state of panic.

The challenge of X, whether X is a merger or some other major shake-up in the business, must generally equal your available resources Y.

So if we use the merger of two distribution companies as our example, what are some problems they might face? If the company uses two different systems to track inventory then the systems need to be unified. This is but one problem. Since both are functioning companies that mean the employees of both are busy maintaining the business already being conducted. This creates a problem with the amount of time being dedicated to the merger and a restriction on the resource of people. Change associated problems like these lead to panic and chaos.

On the other end of the spectrum is when a company is too complacent and they aren’t changing with the pace of the market. Countless companies have nearly become obsolete and gone bankrupt because of their refusal to innovate.

Staying in the Zone

Kriegel and Brandt describe the above scene as the “panic zone.” This is when the equation we discussed is skewed towards the side of the challenge. To balance the equation we need to adjust resources or adjust the challenge. Since the challenge is unlikely to change in this situation then adjusting resources is key. To solve this you could cut the number of individuals working on the merger down but increase the amount of time they work on merger business. This increases both time and relative manpower for this project putting the project back in the so-called “Change-driving zone”

Beyond creative solutions to complex problems, there are preventative measures for staying in the “zone.” For instance, you can assign project workloads differentially based on who has just come off of a hard project and who hasn’t had one recently. Additionally, you can use the equation to assess what “zone” you’re in with a certain project and compare it to how your employees feel about the project. Lastly and probably the most enjoyable is to schedule time for your employees to unwind. Socials and open bars and other events that help your employees decompress pre-panic zone can help avoid it altogether.

In closing, change is good but only if accomplished at the right pace, with a proper balance of resources to challenge and change-driving employees.

Change-driving Traits

The Story Thus Far… game-characters-1744100_1920.jpg

 In this blog series, we’ve talked quite a bit about looking for those antiquated ways of thinking, business practices, and overall trappings of businesses that are stuck in unseen ruts that we’ve dubbed “sacred cows.” But identifying a problem is a far cry from actually doing something about it. As employees and managers, we have both the capacity to identify and affect change in these outdated habits or to remain firmly rooted in the comfort of poor but familiar thoughts and business practices. The good news is that we all have the capacity to change in regards to change whether it is realized as an individual or encouraged. Certainly by this point, if you’ve learned anything at all, is that the business that’s resistant to change gets left behind.

Change-driving Traits

As an individual or a manager, you should be looking to improve upon yourself or to improve the performance of your staff as a whole. You can start by identifying change-driving traits in yourself and others and to what extent you believe you or your employees exemplify those traits. These traits include:

  • Adventurousness
  • Optimism
  • Resourcefulness
  • Adaptability
  • Confidence
  • Passion
  • Tolerance for Ambiguity

There is a multitude of tests available that measure these traits including the one given by Kriegel and Brandt in “Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers.” Looking even cursorily at these traits you can see that they would lend themselves to embracing change. Now is the time to do the dirty work.

Changing Outlooks on Change

Once you’ve identified the weaknesses you can work on fixing them. Now I’m not saying you need to lay off your workers or impose upon yourself some intense training regimen. You would be surprised just how easy it is to foster some of these traits in yourself and your employees. Take, for instance, Optimism. As a self-exercise or exercise for your employees, make a list of arguably bad things like losing your job. You or your colleagues can work on optimism by spinning these bad things into good things. How about another example? Let’s work on adaptability. For your next meeting create a game with clear rules. Begin playing and after 5 minutes amend the rules. Continue this pattern as the game progresses. Soon enough your colleagues will be able to quickly shift gears into this new gameplay. Truly, that’s all it takes to work on some of these traits.

The End Game

Seems easy right. A few games among coworkers and some self-exercises and you can become a person less change averse. What does that mean? Well, it means, as we’ve reiterated in this blog series, that you can introduce change with less push back, greater success, and less trepidation on the part of the company and it’s employees. This will allow for the dynamic workplace and business model that it takes to succeed in today’s global economy.

Worrying: American’s Favorite Pastime

Worrying: upset-534103_1920.jpgAmerican’s Favorite Pastime

Lately, I have been worrying a lot; about my professional growth and development, to thoughts of buying a house, these things plague my mind day in and day out. I am sure that my thoughts are not far from any other professional, entrepreneur or the like.

Worst case scenario is something a full time worrier loves to dwell in. What if I’m laid off in the next budget cut? What if I can’t land that next job on my professional climb? What if I can’t qualify for that mortgage?  

I have recently had a telephone conversation with a peer and graduate classmate who is experiencing these same emotions. Our conversation started with the basic, “how are you?” and “how’s the weather?” and before we know it the conversation had divulged into a glorified worry fest. “Should I get a mortgage if I want to consider moving for a promotion in 3 years? How am I supposed to afford rent on my income? Did I make the right move accepting this promotion?” Whether you are in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, or into your retirement these are real scenarios we experience. These are the same feelings that your employees are thinking. These are the thoughts that are leading to resistance to the restructuring of your business or starting the journey into entrepreneurship. As mentioned in a previous blog resistance to change is rooted in exaggerated and irrational fear.

Reality Check

A way to mitigate fear is to talk about what you are fearful of and create a contingency plan. First, we have to be realistic about what it is we are fearful of. An example of this from Sacred Cows Make The Best Burgers, is a successful residential building contractor wanted to expand into the commercial sector. Every time she considered expanding the fear of failure deterred her from taking the leap. She was asked to rate her risk of failure on a scale of 1 to 10- if 10 equals certain failure. She rated it a 4 and at the maximum a 5. The contractor laughed at her own fear. Once she realized how irrational her fear of failure was she concluded the worst case scenario she would close up shop and go to work for her competitor. They would certainly hire her because she would bring her skills and contacts. “Fear exaggerates the perceived risk, making it seem much greater than it actually is. Reality testing corrects the distortion” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p.199).


Contingency Plan

The contractor naturally created a contingency plan as part of her self-talk after her reality check. She put into action the “if…then” thought process. Take one of the questions from the conversation with my friend, “Should I get a mortgage if I want to consider moving for a promotion in 3 years?”, now let’s look at this with a contingency plan. “If I get a mortgage and receive an opportunity for a promotion in another state… I can try to sell the house. If for some reason I can’t sell the house and get rid of the mortgage I could turn it into an investment property”. This is what a contingency plan looks like. It is about staying one step ahead of your fear. Not being afraid to confront it and plan for it. Creating that contingency plan can lead to innovation and the realization of your biggest fear can be the catalyst to create change.

What would this look like for a business restructuring?

If fear resistance is a driving force in your employees not supporting the change within the company, have a “creative worrying” session. (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011) During this session, everyone would write down their fears, give their fears a reality check, then develop contingency plans for those fears. As the leaders of the team, your responsibility would be to boost your employees’ confidence in that they have the skills and potential to tackle the contingency plans. “A simple rule in coaching yourself or anyone else is Can-Do’s build confidence; Can’t Do’s increase fear (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 204). Focus your employee’s attention on the things they are already executing effortlessly in their lives and workplace. For example, remind them how they are meeting their quotas consistently or how they have managed and excelled in training for half marathons. These were skills and activities they had to work for.  If they approach their plans from the perspective of already feeling accomplished their confidence will receive a significant boost.


Identifying Sacred Cows Part 3 of 3

Identifying Sacred Cows Part 3 of 3

The Downsizing Cow

Restructuring a business is not a one and done effect. There is a continual review and adjustment process involved with restructuring. Making cuts in an effort to downsize may only be beneficial in the short term it seems. The mass lay off of workers will reduce costs immediately but companies are finding that there are voids in their productivity and must hire back some employees. Or worse, they don’t hire back to fill the void and those employees who remain grow overworked and weary.

The suggestion from Kriegel and Brandt is rather than look for “just the core-group” to function everyday  but look for ways to better organize their contributions for success. When looking to make a cut somewhere it may actually be better to call employees together and remain transparent. Discuss the financial situation and what the hope for improvements are. Employees who are concerned that their jobs are on the chopping block are less likely to be innovative or dedicated to their work. Some creative employees may jump ship before you have the chance to let them go. An example of this practice was when a CEO of a national auto-parts chain was losing money they gave a proposition, 10% cut across the board or 10% pay cut to every employee. The employees chose the pay cut but negotiated that if they were able to deliver a profit to the corporate office they would receive their 10% plus a bonus. The corporate offices supported this deal and much to their dismay the management teams organized themselves across the nation and the company experienced record profits. What does that tell you?

The change driving thinking for downsizing should follow these two basic principals: “Cut the fat (cows) before you cut the muscle (people) and downsizing costs: morale, motivation, innovation” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 107).

The Techno Cow

Just the name of this cow makes me think back to that time I found myself in a techno club….that’s a story for another day. The Techno Cow believes that the quick fix for everything not working or wrong in business is to introduce a new technology. Although, having the latest software or gadgets may help with productivity it can be a double edged sword. The time and money needed to invest in the introduction of new technology and to train employees to utilize the new technology to it’s fullest potential may not be effective in the end. You have to decide what is it we are looking to fix with this new addition.

Something businesses have experienced as a result of increase technology dependence has been the decrease in the actual real estate space that businesses must maintain. There has been an increase in the desire for employees to work in the “satellite” sense from home or on the road. Managers are reporting large increases in productivity by their employees being able to work a portion of their time from home. But as Kreigal and Brandt said, don’t start converting the kitchen table just yet (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011). A new problem is arising. Isolation. Technology can cause vast canyons to form in communication. Long gone are the days you walked across the office to hold a conversation about data. Now, an email is sent from one analyst to another and yet, they are 30 feet from each other. To say that things can get lost in communication is an understand. Technology is just not the best platform for brainstorming, developing new strategies, or diving into the meat and bones of a new idea.  Somethings are just better handled face-to-face and technology is only as strong as those utilizing it.

The change driving thinking for examining the techno cow is simple: “high-tech needs high-touch” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 116).

The Team Cow

There is a time and place for everything even teams. Thinking from personal experience nearly every professional position I have held whether it be in the recreation or education field there has always been teams in the workplace. These teams were either picked for you or you volunteered. Some teams flourish and produce while others wither and limp along through the year just praying someone will give up or asked to be reassigned to a different team. Here are some typical issues teams face: They’re overused; the wrong kinds of teams are created; not everyone is suited for team play; individual initiative can be stifled; poor support; unclear on the concept; operating in a vacuum; personality problems; different tongues (lingo) (Kreigal, Brandt, 201).

There are 5 phases of team development. If a team can progress through the 5 stages efficiently, innovation and production is sure to follow. The first phase is Orientation, where the members of the group are simply getting to know each other and set the ground rules and expectations. The second phase is Conflict. During this phase there are power struggles and frustration about what is expected of each member of the team. The third phase is Harmony. During the harmony phase natural leaders emerge and the chaos subsides. Facilitation occurs here and ideas develop through the planning stages. The fourth phase is Maturity. Maturity means that the team is dedicated to their endeavor and look to see it to fruition. The last phase is Dotage. This is the phasing out of the team. The team is now a sacred cow itself. This doesn’t mean the team should be disbanded, but with the right management this team can be recycled and used with a new mission in mind.

The change driving thinking for the team cow is: “throwing a group of people into a room doesn’t make them a team, don’t use teams for jobs that individuals could do better and build bridges between teams”(Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p.127).

The Work Till You Drop Cow

This long held notion that burning the “midnight oil” will allow you to accomplish great tasks is a fallacy. When you are tired you are more likely to make mistakes and cut corners. Studies show that if you pack it up early and don’t exhaust yourself you are more likely to come back the next day rested and far more productive. As a recreational graduate student first and foremost I have studied how important recreation is to society. If you break down the word recreate you discover the words re-create. Having an opportunity to step away from the desk and bustle of the workplace to re-create yourself through spending time outdoors, with family or on your couch in your pajamas is important to maintaining innovation in every work place.

When I was an undergraduate in Wilmington, NC, I worked in a seed and feed store. This was as much an internship in business as part-time college work for me. I sat down with my manager one afternoon and made the daily schedule for the next week. She explained that she never worked anyone at the store more than 25-30 hours. This was mostly to ensure that employees didn’t become lazy. What she meant by that was, if they worked too many hours things would get put off or slip through the cracks. Feed expiration wouldn’t be watched as closely, the warehouse employees would suffer from fatigue and be more likely to become injured and cashiers would become bored and off task. Productivity would actually go down if everyone worked 35-40 hours a week. 
The work till you drop cow has a simple change driving thinking; “overwork doesn’t work” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 135).

This concludes the 3 part series of identifying the sacred cows often found in the work place. How many of these sacred cows do you have roaming the halls of your office?

Check back for more posts on the topic of motivating change and restructuring businesses to become more innovative and dynamic in today’s competitive economy!

Identifying Sacred Cows Part 2 of 3

Identifying Sacred Cows Part 2 of 3

The Competitive Cow

In the business industry today, just trying to compete will lead you nowhere. If you spend all of your time trying to keep up with the moves of your competitors then when will you control the field? You have to be willing to change the way the game is played.  If you are the one controlling the market then the competitors are keeping up with you. Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers looked at The American Girl Company, for example. When you think of the doll market Barbie is definitely a frontrunner. When Pleasant Rowland set out to develop a doll company she knew she couldn’t compete with Barbie. She had to dominate her own niche. She created the Pleasant Company now known as the American Girl Company. These dolls are historical, have family values, and are self reliant (Kreigal, Brandt, p. 61). They sell their dolls through mail order versus big box stores. They are also more expensive than Barbie, but do you think that is hurting the company? No, as a matter of fact according to Vault, a ranking company for companies, internships and schools, American Girl reported 2013 sales of $659 million. American Girl took a generic idea, dolls, and made it into a multi-million dollar company, all the while not trying to compete with Barbie but instead dominate it’s own product field.

The Change Driving Thinking for competitive cows is: “Tilt the playing field in your direction, don’t play by someone else’s rules, make your own and head to head competition will give you a headache” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 63).

The Customer Cow

Customer satisfaction is status quo today. Everyone has to do it if they intend to be in business for long. “So don’t just satisfy customers; everyone does that. Surprise them. Give them something they don’t expect” (Kreigal, Brandt, p. 68). Knowing what the customer is looking for can be a daunting task. It can require surveys, focus groups and critical conversations between customers and leadership. Can you really rely solely on a survey to help guide you into knowing what your customers need? They can be inconclusive and not qualitative enough. Sometimes it is much better to talk to the customer directly. Yet, the idea of having focus groups can be toxic itself. Depending on the makeup of the focus group at any given time the result could become clouded by someone’s bad commute or incorrect morning coffee order. What should you do? Think like the consumer. Do you remember the reality show about undercover bosses. This show allowed CEOs to see what was really going on in the workplace and often they all ended the same. The CEO was surprised by the feedback, whether positive or negative, from the customer’s, employees and low level management. Their surprise is attributed to a sense of disconnect from the “real world”. An example here of a company performing their own reality television version of Undercover Bosses is 3m’s medical and surgical product division.  All members of the division have opportunities to meet with doctors and nurses at local hospitals to watch their products in action. 3m gives pointers to the customer on how to better use the product and in turn the customers give feedback to things they would like to see improved (Kreigal, Brandt, p. 72).

“For the customer cow the change driving thinking should be: don’t follow customers; lead them, don’t satisfy customers; surprise them and don’t be market driven; be a market driver” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 77).

The Low Price Cow

Cheaper isn’t always better. Today, people do not shop around for prices like they once did. Now they go where they know quality, service and prices will be predictable and acceptable. It’s all about value. It’s not about price it’s about relationships. Remember the last time you went to the beach on vacation? There was likely several advertisements around the community for stand up paddle board (SUP) rentals.  If two SUP rental stands were side by side on the street; one low cost and low value and one moderate cost and high value, which one do you believe would be busier? The one that provides this year’s boards and delivers them for free but charges significantly more per hour on a rental will be busier. Meanwhile the stand with outdated boards and dirt cheap rental fees with no convenience to the customer will be wondering, where did we go wrong?

The Change Driving thinking for a low price cow would be “sell cheap and that’s what people will think of you and loss leaders lose. Overall, customers look for price and value and service and quality and convenience. And you’d better give it to them or someone else will” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 82).

The Quick-Reactor Cow

It’s all about the difference in being reactive versus proactive. The competition is being proactive and anticipating the changes in the business market before you are even aware of what’s going on. If you are spending your time reacting then you are wasting your time while your competition pulls away to win the prize. The analogy of catching a wave was used in Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers. You have to watch the horizon, pick a set of swells, and begin paddling well before the wave is upon you, otherwise it will come crashing down on your head.

It is important to listen to the customer needs but if your actions are based on the customer’s need at the moment then how will you be producing a product they need in the future.  You have to look at the lives of your consumers. It isn’t terribly scientific nor does it require a special equation to predict the change. There are a few things you can look at to keep you in tune to your customers needs: 1. Demographic, sociographic, and psychographic trends of your customers; 2. Emerging social and cultural directions; and 3. Advances in technology (Kreigal, Brandt, p. 86).  

Change Driving for the quick-reactor cow is that “good companies react quickly to change; great companies create the change and move before the wave; change before you have to” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 89).

The No-Mistakes Cow

The big mistake with trying to live a business life of no mistakes is innovation dies.  It is understandable that you don’t want to make a mistake. We are taught from childhood that mistakes are bad. Sometimes we are told they help us learn, but learning can be painful and costly. If the concern of making mistake begins to diminish innovation, creativity and original ideas then the possibility of gaining competitive edge goes along with it. (Kreigal, Brandt, pg. 90).  What is the cost benefit analysis here? Can you afford a few mistakes at the cost of growth? Would you rather play it safe and leave money and new developments to the competitor? Coca-cola CEO, Roberto Goizueta is quoted saying, “The moment you let avoiding failure become your motivator, you’re down the path of inactivity” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 91). The super cautious and over analytical approach can mean that by the time you reach certainty and are ready to commit to the innovative idea the window of opportunity has closed and  your competitor has walked away with, not only your idea, but your money.

The no-mistakes cow comes along with it’s own change driving thinking. “Don’t penalize mistakes; reward good tries. The biggest mistake: not learning from mistakes and if you’re not making mistakes you’re not trying anything new” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 98).


Identifying Sacred Cows Part 1 of 3

Identifying Sacred Cows Part 1

The next three blog posts will be a series of that will be identifying the sacred cows most often found in businesses that are looking to reengineer themselves. As covered in the first blog a sacred cow is “an outmoded belief, assumption, practice, policy, system, or strategy, generally invisible, that inhibits change and prevents responsiveness to new opportunities” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 1). Part 1 will look at 5 of the 14 cows covered in the book, Sacred Cows make the best burgers. Let us begin by reflecting on a quote from John C. Maxwell, an American author, speaker and pastor who has written many books, “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine”.  

The Paper Cow

If you were to go to your email inbox right now, how many emails would you have? Specifically, how many emails are unread? What about reports or proposals sitting on your desk? For most, the answer would be numerous. This is because businesses today suffer from, the paper cow.

What is the problem with having the paper cow? It wastes time. It wastes it by constructing the reports or emails, especially when no one is reading them. It is, like wise, a waste of time if you are reading lengthy reports and proposals that are generated without warrant. The resources of time and money are valuable. These are two resources that should be devoted to consumers and products.

An example of a process generated by a paper cow would be approval forms for expenses and leave. The time that would go into the employee drafting the forms and committees reviewing, deliberating, and approving or denying requisitions is taking away from the real meat and bones of what businesses should be focusing time on.

Does this mean that all emails are categorized as a paper cow? Certainly not. The take away for Change-Drivability Thinking is: If it doesn’t add value to the customer, increase productivity, improve morale, it moos!” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p.18)

The Meeting Cow

Many people in business live on the quote, “time is money”. Board meetings, staff meetings, learning communities these are some of the names we hear thrown around to glorify what is really happening. Time away from the important things. Meetings are a waste of time, end of story. Meetings can become stagnant and often employees mentally “check out”. When employees check out during meetings the opportunity to get them on board with forward thinking and plans to revolutionize products and processes goes with them.

Often meetings are set to be something reoccurring, for example, staff meetings held every Wednesday, just for the sake of meeting. What happens when someone with a bright idea holds back because they don’t want to be the one to hold a meeting any longer than necessary? By setting shorter meeting times and frequencies productivity will improve. The Change-Drivability thinking to take away from this chapter is, “halve your meeting time and double your productivity” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 25).

The Speed Cow

Think about the word deadline for a moment. Phrases like, under the gun, and behind the eight ball come to mind bringing with them all the negative connotations to boot. Unfortunately, deadlines and due dates are something that are here to stay. Deadlines precipitate stress. When stress is up the quality of relationships and work goes down. Often times when deadlines are looming people produce products and deliverables that are under par.

As mentioned before, deadlines are necessary but it is possible to manage the stress that comes along with them. Taking a few moments from the day to relax, clear your head, and just breathe can be the difference between quality work and bad work. An example of this would be when a sports team calls a time out in order to get their thoughts together and regroup. The Change-Drivability for the speed cow is, “speed kills quality, service, communication, innovation… and you. A passionate 90 percent is more productive than a panicked 110 percent” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 37).

 The Expert Cow

It happened to Xerox and IBM…the expert cow. In every business there sits a veteran employee who believes that history repeats itself. The expert is often resistant to change and bases their practices on antiquated knowledge and systems (Kreigal, Brandt, 1996). Although gleaning knowledge from those with experience is crucial, it is also important to sometimes look at things from a new perspective.

A rookie’s approach can be what it takes to reengineer a company. Reengineering takes the blank slate approach. The preconceived notions of a veteran can stand in the way of a successful and meaningful change. A couple of statements for Change-Drivability are, “think like a beginner, not an expert; and be smart: ask stupid questions” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 45).

The Cash Cow

Riding the old gift horse gets you left behind…Things in today’s economy are moving quickly that relying on today’s hot ticket item is not necessarily going to provide big dividends in the future. A good example of a company who is “breaking it before it’s broke” is Apple (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 49). Before you have even learned all the new features on your IPhone 6 the IPhone 7 is about to drop.

Riding the cash cow and focusing all of your resources on one successful product will run you aground. Complacency leads to failure and niches are ruts (Kreigal, Brandt, 1996). The take away for Change-Drivability here is: “keep milking your cash cow and they’ll run dry. Broaden your niche before it turns into a rut. Break it before it’s broke” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 55).

Later this week we will take a look a a few more of the sacred cows and how to work through resolving the hurdles of change.

Kriegel, R. J., & Brandt, D. (2011). Sacred cows make the best burgers: paradigm-busting strategies for developing change-ready people and organizations. New York: Warner Books.

Change and Its Challenges

I am excited to bring you a series of blogs over the next few weeks inspired by the sacred-cowsBusinessweek Bestseller, Sacred Cows {make the best burgers}, by Robert Kreigal and David Brandt. Kreigal is the author of the New York Times Bestseller, If It Ain’t Broke…Break It! Kreigal and Brandt approach and delve into topics of change, competitiveness in the market place, and motivation in this reflective and inspiring piece of work.

Change and Its Challenges

By Heather Sholar

Imagine you are called to a meeting in the executive board room at a fortune five hundred company or perhaps a room not much bigger than a broom closet at a small start-up business. A flurry of thoughts come to mind, fear, excitement, and anticipation. Upon entering the room, you determine this is a meeting that will augment the future, not only for your employer, but for you too.. Your employer is going to restructure the company from the ground up. It seems like today this scenario is becoming more prevalent and possibly one you have already experienced.

Why is change necessary?

We are living in the information age, where products, services and businesses are moving faster today than they were even 3 years ago. In order to keep up with the changing tides of the marketplace restructuring or re-engineering of a company is something that is becoming more common. In the article, 10 Principles of Leading Change Management by DeAnne Aguirre and Micah Alpern state, “Since the mid-2000s, organizational change management and transformation have become permanent features of the business landscape” (2014). The old way of doing things and the long-held traditions of some businesses are the very processes that are suppressing growth. Kreigal and Brandt say that the latest buzzwords in business today are re-engineering, total quality, virtual teams, and horizontal structures (2011, p. 3). These ideas are being implemented as a facet of the change in businesses to mitigate the “sacred cow”.

Who is the sacred cow?

The sacred cow is “an outmoded belief, assumption, practice, policy, system, or strategy, generally invisible, that inhibits change and prevents responsiveness to new opportunities” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 1). Sacred cows can materialize themselves in a manner of hosts. They can be seen in the thoughts, actions, and attitudes of employees.

What is their impact?

This inhibition on the part of employees can be detrimental to a business that is trying to adjust to the unstable market place by remaining competitive through change.  In a market that is stable, Kreigal and Brandt, state that sacred cows can maintain their status quo for quite some time, but upon turbulence resistance will surface (2011, p.2). Ultimately, the employees are the “gatekeepers of change” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 5). If the employees do not support re-engineering, then change will not take place. It is that simple.

Why is change so bad?

            Change brings with it emotional, physical and interpersonal issues. “Change is uncomfortable, unpredictable, and often seems unsafe” (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011, p. 6). Let’s go back to the board room, or broom closet scenario. When someone tells you that you must change the way you have been functioning in the business, it is scary. Thoughts of having to learn new skills and adapt can be overwhelming. What if I am not good enough? What is my coworker will be better suited after this change in structure or system? 10 Reasons People Resist Change, an article from the Harvard Business Review lists loss of control, excess uncertainty, surprise decisions, too much change, and loss of identity as the top 5 reasons employees lack the desire to embrace new structure in the work place (Kanter, 2012). The good news is it is possible to alleviate some of the fear and loathing employees may experience.

Motivate for Change

            As a business owner you sit down with a tablet and pen and begin to sketch out ideas to motivate your employees to engage in change…after all they are the hands and feet of every business. The way to accomplish change through eliminating resistance is by utilizing Change-Drivability (Kreigal, Brandt, 2011).

Change-Drivability is an attitude that is

  • open and receptive to new ideas;
  • excited rather than anxious about change;
  • challenged not threatened, by transitions;
  • committed to change as an ongoing process.

Change-Drivability is taking actions to

  • anticipate and initiate change;
  • challenge the status quo;
  • create instead of react to change;
  • lead rather than follow (the competition, the customer, and the industry.)

-Kreigal, Brandt, 2011

In the upcoming weeks we will be looking at ways to identify the hurdles of change in your business, developing strategies for change, growing drivability, motivating employees, and grow personal change-driving traits.



Kanter, R. M. (2014, August 07). Ten Reasons People Resist Change. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from https://hbr.org/2012/09/ten-reasons-people-resist-chang

Kriegel, R. J., & Brandt, D. (2011). Sacred cows make the best burgers: paradigm-busting strategies for developing change-ready people and organizations. New York: Warner Books.

Aguirre, D., & Alpern, M. (2014, June 06). 10 Principles of Leading Change Management. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://www.strategy-business.com/article/00255?gko=9d35b