Adapting to Change
Karl Marx quoted that change is the only thing that is constant. This statement still holds true regardless of time, in almost every walk of life. Be it a person or an organization, everyone and everything changes. Some things change for the better, while others change for the worse. It is a field where Darwin’s principle of ‘survival of the fittest’ holds true. Only the fit shall survive and for this to happen you have to adapt to change and continue moving forward. With that we introduce the 6th step of Operational Excellence – Adapting to change.
The market and the customer desires are changing on a yearly, monthly, weekly and even daily basis with respect to new technologies and opportunities. Take the evolution of mobile phones as an example. Companies are coming up with new features and updates on a daily basis, ranging from high resolution cameras to mobile banking. If you don’t keep up with the speed of evolution then you will be left standing with no scope for improvement. On the other hand, if you are willing to take the leap and move with the changing times, then that is all you need to go above and beyond and transform into something better. According to Forbes, in today’s business environment, the gap between relevance and obsolescence has the potential to grow wider every day. If companies want to stay relevant, they must adapt to change, but they must do so before change beckons the call. Staying relevant means to be connected internally with employees and externally with customers. We have discussed the communication aspect of Operational Excellence in our first step, Operating Rhythm. For Operational Excellence to exist, it is important for the company to evolve and stay ahead in the market. When an organization innovates to meet the needs of a changing market, the they tends to create more value and profit, both of which can give mileage to the organization in the long run. Apart from that, the organization should also know how to manage this change in a proper manner so that it doesn’t affect the functions of the company. This can be achieved by having clear directives (Tactical Plans) and putting people in positions where they can function with full efficiency based on their KRA’s and KPI’s.
Forbes put together 5 points that further helps companies adapt to change in an efficient manner:
• They welcome failure- Welcoming failure is to acknowledge the temporary state that is present and use it as a stepping stone toward a greater learning. It gives a window for the employees to try different ideas without fear of failure. This window is all that is needed for a leap in the way the organization caters to the needs of customers.
• They add feedback loops- Communication is a key aspect in any organization. The better the flow of information is, the easier it is to run. Any time you are trying something new, keep the communication channel open and welcome feedback.
• They ingrain learning- Smart work is always appreciated. The only way that organizations get smarter is by reflecting on both success and failure and sharing those insights with the team. That way, the whole team learns about what went right and what went wrong giving them a lesson that they can use for the future endeavours.
• They are process-focused- Don’t let goals define you. Focus on the process and this will define the goal.
• They promote accountability- Adaptable organizations foster a culture of accountability. Accountability allows you to avoid the blame game and finger pointing as an excuse for failure and unwanted fuss over a success.
Changes can be seen as different stages in a game. How you adapt to change can alter your course, leading you down a longer or shorter, easier or harder path. Using a combination of the points mentioned above will help you in choosing the “right” path. Adapting to change helps you improve on a personal level and as an organization. Adapt, evolve and grow.