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.

change

Citations

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