Tag Archive for 'change'

Being a small business owner will change you

If you don’t like change don’t become a small business owner. If you like everything about who you are and will never want to change, don’t follow the path of an entrepreneur.

The forces in the world of small business will change you. If you survive, you will become smarter, tougher, more self-confident, more aware of your instincts, and know more about what you’re made of than ever before. If you survive.

Charles Francis Adams, Jr., historian and grandson of John Quincy Adams, once observed that, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, “…developed immensely;  he became in fact another being. History, indeed, hardly presents an analogous case of education through trial.”

During your life as a small business owner, you will acquire an education through trial and this education will change you. Armed with that understanding you can embrace the education, value the changes, and develop immensely.

And thanks for being part of my community. I’ll see you on the radio and the Internet.

Don’t just manage change - lead it!

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every purpose under heaven.”

On its face, this well-known King Solomon wisdom, from the 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes, delivers hopeful encouragement. But implicit in this passage is a somewhat hidden, and often troublesome paradox: A time for everything also implies nothing can be forever, and therefore, change is inevitable.

In the abstract, we accept the reality of change, but in practice we regard it like the medicine we know we need, but don’t want to take. And knowing change is inevitable doesn’t make the pill any sweeter.

In the marketplace, it was challenging enough to implement a change when we had the expectation of not having to do it again anytime soon. But in the 21st century, the bitter pill of change has acquired an unfortunate new characteristic: a frighteningly short duration.

Organizations that enjoy consistent success will make change an abiding element in their business model, rather than an intrusion to “the way we’ve always done things.” They’ll create a culture and environment where change can occur whenever necessary, without creating a casualty list.

Rick Maurer, author of “Beyond the Wall of Resistance,” conducted a survey of organizations that have implemented change. He identified four things they did to create a culture compatible with change.

  1. Make a strong case.
    Maurer found that “when change was successful, 95% of the stakeholders saw a compelling need to change.” Change must be accompanied by evidence of its importance. If you can’t make the case, perhaps it’s not the right thing to do — yet.
  2. Establish the vision.
    Maurer’s research indicates 71% of successful changes happened “when people understood the vision of the project.” Stakeholders should see the long-term benefits of change.
  3. Sustain the changes.
    The primary reason for failure, Maurer found, was “inability to sustain the change.” Sustaining change isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon that must endure pressure from many sources and may be the greatest test of leadership.
  4. Anticipate maintenance.
    Successful managers recognize that it’s not in the nature of change to be self-perpetuating.

Change will happen. And if we expect something positive, it probably will be.

Don’t just manage change – lead it.


Click on the link below to listen to Rick Maurer’s latest interview. Click the book image above to purchase Rick’s book Beyond the Wall of Resistance.

When you’re trying to implement change, focus can be difficult - My interview with Rick Maurer

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Leading change successfully in your small business

There isn’t much different about change today from any other time in human history. A computer is just a fancy wheel.  But there is one thing about change that is so different that it has been taking our breath away for the past 15 years or so: It’s the velocity of change.

What I mean about velocity of change is that the time between one generation of change and the next one has been compressed.  Where a new strategy, product or plan might have lasted a year or more in past generations, today may be obsolete in 90 days.  Consequently, business leaders can’t just accept change or even manage change; we have to lead change.  Managing change requires acceptance and execution; leading change requires those things plus vision, courage and world-class leadership skills.

How can you lead change in your small business in the second decade of the 21st century? Recently, I talked about this on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, with Rick Maurer, a long time member of my Brain Trust and world-class expert on world-class change leadership. He is the author of several books, including Beyond the Wall of Resistance and Why Don’t You Want What I Want.

Please, take a few minutes to listen to what Rick and I have to say on leading change, and be sure to leave your own thoughts. Listen Live! Download, Too!

Small business and 21st century paradigm shifts

As we engage the world, at least the parts that touch us, we establish – or are taught to establish – what futurist Joel Barker (www.joelbarker.com) calls filters. Barker says we use these filters to accept some parts of the world and reject others. These filters ultimately create the paradigms through which, as Barker says, “we view the world.” And once established, whether feasible or flawed, we actually learn how to live and work, often successfully, with our paradigms.

But let’s look at that “feasible or flawed” aspect of paradigms. The flawed paradigm will typically take care of itself because it requires more maintenance and will likely have a shorter life. A flawed paradigm will quickly create problems for its holder but not for too long.

It’s the feasible paradigms we should worry about because they’re the ones upon which fortunes have been made and belief systems established. The buggy whip had a long life as a successful propulsion paradigm, as did the newspaper want ad as an effective way to reach prospects.

The danger of a feasible paradigm is that, as we learn from the wisdom of Ecclesiastes, everything has a time to be and a time not to be. But once money, generations of time and effort, and yes, even faith have been invested in a particular paradigm, like a buggy whip or a want ad, it’s difficult for the holders of that paradigm to accept the reality and inevitability of change.

But as Ecclesiastes promises, change will come. And when it does, it creates what Barker calls a Paradigm Shift, at which time “everything goes back to zero.” The automobile was the paradigm shift for buggy whip manufacturers, as the Internet has created a shift for newspapers.

We live in an era when paradigms are shifting all around us in unprecedented numbers. Some shifts are natural – caused by the human intellectual journey, and some are self-imposed – created prematurely by human imperfections and deficiencies. Regardless of the cause, paradigm shifts are our reality; and unless we want to get run over by them, we have to deal with the new paradigms as they reveal themselves, hopefully, before a shift.

Having learned so much from Joel Barker from his books and films, it was a great day for me when he became a member of my Brain Trust as a regular guest on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. Recently Joel was a guest again, and we talked about paradigms and some of the shifts that are happening right now. Don’t miss this interview with one of the the great thinkers of our time. And of course, leave a comment and I’ll make sure Joel sees it.

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