You are a business owner and you have the desire to make the necessary changes to grow your business.
You have a capable management team – and they seem to be bought in to your new business vision.
However, the change progress is painfully slow – in fact your new initiatives seem to have stalled (again!).
What’s the problem? Why do we always seem to be starting new initiatives but never completing them?
This is one of the many warning signs that you are an ‘in-between-zone’ business.
When this warning sign ‘pops up’ – maybe you should look at the composition of your management team. Let’s say that there are 5 people in your team (a typical number). It wouldn’t be a surprise if your management looked like this:
- The ‘enthusiast’
- The ‘cynic’
- The ‘3 in the middle’
A typical change process unfolds like this:
- The ‘enthusiast’ is really fired up and is driving the process forward with (er) enthusiasm!
- The ‘3 in the middle’ are doing a good job – as you would expect.
- The ‘cynic’ has done ‘F’ all – but obviously dresses their inertia up with ‘smoke and mirrors’ (the ‘3 in the middle’ smile inwardly, they have seen it all before).
Two or three (say monthly) meetings go by following the pattern above. The owner has done nothing to change the normal pattern.Sooner or later the ‘3 in the middle’ say – ‘well we understood originally that this was a really important change initiative – but the ‘cynic’ is doing nothing and the owner doesn’t seem to care (as usual). Why are we bothering? Let’s just stop trying’. Meanwhile the ‘enthusiast’ is oblivious to the fact that everybody else has given up. Fast forward to 3 months later and the ‘enthusiast’ is still trying to drive the (now redundant) change process forward.
This pattern is incredibly regular in many change initiatives – and becomes a self fulfilling destiny – if the business owner does not change the way they work. Too often the business owner cannot ‘see the wood for the trees’. They say things like – ‘well that’s just the way ‘cynic’ is (substitute name as appropriate). They have great qualities otherwise – but they just don’t like change’.
Problem is – if your business doesn’t change – then you do things as you have always done them – and if you do things as you have always done them and expect anything different (like growth) to happen – then that is the definition of insanity.
Basically – the business owner has to show the ‘desire’ to sit down and talk with ‘cynic’. Find out what the problem is (do they need more help, more training, more encouragement, perhaps a kick up the ass?). Doing nothing just reinforces the pattern of change initiative failure.
So ask yourself the question – who is in control of your business (and the pace of change) – you or the ‘cynic’ on the team?