Change is inevitable.
- People change with experience,
- The market changes with customer ‘wants’, influenced by competitors, fads and innovation,
- Legal requirements change with government policy,
- Technology changes introducing obsolescence and new possibilities.
Businesses that do not acknowledge the necessity of change nor have processes to accommodate change will suffer and in all likelihood, fail.
The largest single barrier to invoking change is encompassed by both business culture and individuals.
- Having ‘always done it this way’ is a barrier to process improvement.
- Staying within one’s comfort zone does away with innovation.
- Denying that change is occurring leads to stagnation and decay; a change in its own right.
Hindsight provides the opportunity to learn lessons. When mistakes are not heeded, history may be repeated. The true benefits of hindsight are only possible when a proactive culture of foresight is adopted, improving all business processes. Foresight enables advantages whereas hindsight alone can be indicative of failure-induced regrets.
Capturing lessons learned within some type of enterprise business repository, applying some analysis and making the results available to decision makers within a business allows the consequence of change to be better understood.
Recognising that change will occur, it is essential that 3 questions be asked:
- What if …? – What are the consequences of a proposed change or of doing nothing?
- How big? – What is the scope of the change and how much of the business is impacted?
- When and how far? – When is the best time to invoke a change and how far into the future does the change continue to impact the business?
Acknowledging that change will happen and can have both short and longer term ramifications and applying the foresight that only experience can bring, allows a business to positively affect its future.
Businesses need not be solely the slaves of change, responding when forced to do so, but can, with the foresight of sufficient knowledge and supporting processes, become the instruments of change, requiring others to react in order to ‘keep up’.
Businesses that lead rather rather than follow can enjoy the greatest level of success.