Shakespeare once wrote “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”. When it comes to businesses, the same could be said regarding change. Some business owners and leaders naturally welcome and pursue innovation and change as part of everything they do; some are well prepared for when change happens, see it as an opportunity and manage it well; but others stick their head in the sand and hope it will go away.
Change won’t go away... however much you want to avoid it.
Change is often seen as intimidating, it can be confronting but over the past couple of years, countless businesses have evolved the way they do things, at unprecedented speed. During New Zealand’s lockdowns, businesses achieved levels of change in months, weeks, days, and even hours, that might otherwise have taken them years – because often that was the only way to survive. Organisations of all sizes moved their staff to working from home, producers swiftly moved to provide click and collect, small retailers took e-commerce on board.
Remarkable things were achieved.
Dealing with change is a mindset. The most effective approach for any business is not simply accepting it will happen but embracing it – and definitely not avoiding it. By being mindful of and engaging with change, you are best prepared to control its impact. If you don’t, then it can become an uncontrollable force and your business will be playing catch up.
Change can be challenging and it can be positive. If you front-foot the risk and potential for change and build a culture within your business where people are constantly looking for opportunities for innovation, you will be best prepared to seize the opportunities and weather the challenges – as many New Zealand businesses have demonstrated over the past two years.
We are all over Covid! We are over talking about it, and are VERY much over the constant threat of being locked down! We would all like it to just go away, but we know that this probably isn't going to happen anytime soon. Be prepared to adapt and build preparedness for change into your planning.
Now is not the time for a rigid business model.
Being agile may, for instance, mean not having so many fixed overheads. At RightWay, we are seeing more customer businesses moving into shared workspaces or working from home. We're also seeing an increase in the use of contractors, rather than recruiting new staff. They are more expensive but at challenging times it means costs can be reduced very quickly.
We're seeing employee shortages resulting in many employees changing jobs to gain more favourable working and payment arrangements. Are your staff engaged with your business and if not how can you encourage them to be, do they feel valued? Do you want to retain them? Are you prepared to pay them more to keep them or is there another alternative?
There are a lot of questions on issues that impact business that no one knows the answers to. When will the borders reopen? What happens if tourists can’t come back within the next few years? While we always want to be optimistic about business, there has to be a degree of risk-taking, but it has to be calculated risk-taking. This is very much what we are seeing among our customers. Organisations are treading carefully. How agile you can be depends very much on the business you are in, but digital technology enables most businesses to have a level of flexibility.
Now is the time to do what Kiwis are famous for - moving forward and getting on with getting the job done!