Change is generally good, for a majority of the people, a majority of the time. However fear of the unknown often retards the advance of change, and after a few surprises, it’s easy to become change-averse and fearful of the outcome of any change in our lives.
Many people have experienced a change in the last couple of years that can be the most disruptive of nearly all events in our lives – the loss of a job. This has been ranked up there with a death in the family in terms of negative feelings, depressive influence and life interruption. Those who’s livelihoods and lifestyle was most dependant upon that weekly income are those most profoundly affected, and those who were the least prepared, i.e. having no savings or cushion, were the one’s that felt the pinch most severely.
Those that embraced the change, reassessed their situation in a realistic, fearless way, were able to use their strengths, and send their lives in a new, positive direction. Many started their own businesses, gaining control over their income, their lives and their schedule. Some found new careers through retraining, additional education or volunteering through other organizations that lead to a new position. Change managed and channeled is change for the better, activity takes away the fear and returns you to a position of control.
In business, change has to be carefully managed through frequent, relevant communication, strong leadership, and transparent planning. The less employees fear, the more likely they are to embrace the new order and get with the program in a positive way.
The economy has forced changes on virtually every business out there, and some have managed those changes with the least damage to employees and their bottom line, and come out stronger at the other end as a result. Other have employed a more drastic slash-and-burn tactics, and are now hunting for talent, hurting for cash, and have lost market share to their competitors who were ready to gear up for growth.
Marketing is often the promoter and enactor, a catalyst for change – how our company looks to the world affects how we work internally, which drives process change. New marketing programs bring changes in business processes, like customer service, order fulfillment, purchasing, invoicing, vendor selection, even physical plant management and HR. That kind of broad ranging change can bring some heat to the marketing department, but if managed correctly, can lead to a stronger, more visible, more progressive company in the long-run.
Communicate often, make it relevant, tell workers what’s going to be coming down the pike, give them time to process and absorb it, react to it, vent about it, and accept and embrace it – once people get comfortable with the new order, they’ll wonder how they did things any other way . . .
Tell us your most fear inducing change story, and let us know how it turned out in the long run, what your company did badly, what it did well to manage the change. We’d love to hear from you . . .
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