Miyerkules, Nobyembre 17, 2010

Change and Innovation: From Small Changes into Big Profits: originally written by Jolito Ortizo Padilla

It is hard to change one's personal behaviour, let alone that of a total organization. Many companies see the need for change long before they actually start to make the required changes. Instead of ignoring a situation, companies need to recognize the need for change sooner rather than later. Waiting will only cause more pain and the need for full-blown change. The greater the overall change, the less likely it will be for a company to reach its desired results. A company's ability to make small changes fast will have a direct impact on its ablity to stay competitive and profitable.

What Is Your Change Mindset?
Companies that only make massive changes that affect their culture and how they do business, in reality, are taking more risk than those that are willing to make small changes earlier rather than later. Companies that no longer have a product or business model that meets the needs of the changing market place generally go out of business These companies wait too long to make the needed changes and pay the price.

Even large companies , able to survive massive and sudden change, suffer serious disruption in the manner in which they conduct business, and their people pay a high emotional price. But who said that change has to be large and disruptive to produce profitable results? The instant accessibility of information, that in the past could take months or years to recieve, such as inventory levels, changing market needs , and financial information, means that companies can now quickly identify changes that are needed. The result is smaller changes that are less disruptive to the organization and its employees. For small changes to be accepted and be meaningful and profitable ,leaders must encourage and promote learning and communication. Leaders must take responsibiltiy for creating a positive attitude toward change. Each department or team must focus on and celebrate little victories and create a "small change is beautiful" mindset throughout the organization. A company that creates the kind of culture that promotes small, grassroot changes provides the opportunity for producing greater profits and a more efficient organization.

Are Your Processes Holding You Back?
Organization spend a great deal of time and money making sure they hire the best and brightest talent available. Yet many companies have processes and structures that do not foster the full use of their people's talents. A company needs a small change culture that allows employees to communicate ideas that could produce greater profitability and efficiency. Processes and systems are all part of a company's culture ; making small changes in these can lead to large profits.

Ask: do your processes allow your people to think outside the box: take risks, allow them to explore possible small changes that could improve the company's performance? Do your current processes allow your employees to express better or more profitable ways of doing things? If your unwritten slogan is, "we have always done it this way", you had better make some changes to your processes or organizational structure. Your processes need to encourage small changes that will help meet the changing business environment in your marketplace. An effective technique for creating more change friendly processes is to reward your employees for coming up with ideas that will produce big profits.This enhance your company's willingness and ability to implement small changes.

When an organization's processes and structures become so rigid and inflexible that they block change of any kind from taking place, your organization may be headed down a dangerous path. An organizations's customer tastes can change and your market can change at a moment's notice. If the only thing that cannot change is your organization or the way you do business , this could end up being your company's undoing.

Groups For Small Change
Small change groups can provide many profitable benefits. They focus on better serving customers and coming up with innovative changes to improve products, marketing, production and inventory control.

Change groups should be made up of executives , managers and very important employees from all levels of the organization. The only prerequisite for being a member is that they should have an open mind and willing to listen. For maximum effectiveness , group members need to rotate periodically among other change groups in different departments. This will help employees better understand the different challenges and small changes that need to take place in other areas of the company. Change groups will give employees an outlet to brainstorm and express ideas for improving how the company functions in an accepting environment.

Such groups encourage openness and frank sharing of ideas and problems that will help shape the future of the company. Creating small change groups will motivate employees and speed up change. These groups can share information and create better and more effective ways of getting things done. The group will want to check if the change is workable , but even if the change idea does not work , the group process can still be a great team building and learning experience.

Leading Your Small Change
A leader's role is different when establishing a culture that promotes small change , as opposed to large, company- wide change. Small change , to succeed, must have a vision that ties into the values of the organization.

If those at the top of the organization do not live by the values and vision of the organization, the rest of the company will not live by them either. Leaders need to promote and make their organization needs to know the direction it is headed , and understand what small changes need to take place, for it to reach its goals.

Corporate leaders must establish a culture where making making small changes is everyone's responsibility. An organization needs to create an environment where the acceptance of small change ideas is a solid part of its culture. Ask: do you know how willing your people are to accept the concept of making small change? Do your people get involved and become an active participant in change? People need to be coached to learn how to make the needed small changes. Leaders and managers need to create a sense of urgency by adopting a culture that encourages small changes to take place. They must be aware of , and remove , any obstacles that impede the adoption of a small culture.

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