The 3 best tips to manage change in your business
In the 1950s, the shoe company Reebok underwent a radical change. Eager to spread to the American market from their home market of Britain, Reebok had a problem. The American market was already heavily dominated by local giants like Nike. Rather than compete where others were already strong, Reebok decided to seize a new market: Athletic shoes for women.
Until then, most women who wanted sporty shoes had to wear men’s sizes and models. Reebok completely retrained their marketing and sales teams into these new female-specific models. Their manufacturing had to rebuild around the new molds. Reebok had made an enormous risk in this change, but their leadership was confident that this change would be good for the company.
And it worked. Reebok exploded in popularity thanks to the incredible speed that their team could change to seize the untapped market of women’s athletic shoes. For the next 30 years, the company shot up through the market until, by the 1980s, Reebok was a household name worldwide.
Reebok’s story shows how good change management can have a massive impact on a company’s success. Not everyone is as successful, but you can be if you keep these three tips in mind.
1. Change needs to be Fast
The idea that the “early bird gets the worm” is a common one in business. Innovation is probably the most important ingredient for business success. But today, that edge is becoming slimmer as companies are copying each other far more quickly. Jeff Bezos, in a recent interview at the Air, Space & Cyber Conference, said that while innovations in the past would give Amazon a 5-7 year lead in the industry, today it’s incredibly rare for a company to get any more than 2 years. Even for breakthrough innovations, others will quickly seize the opportunity of something profitable. So it’s more important than ever for your company to take advantage of that two-year window to claim as much market share as possible.
The biggest hurdle to fast change is training times – and the larger the company, the bigger the problem. The time it takes to spread the word out to all your employees on changes in policy and structure is often the largest difference between a successful change and one that fails.
2. Change needs to be Focused
In every strategic change, however big or small, the purpose of the shift should be made clear and quantifiable. That could mean a new product rollout, a change in the target audience, or a total rebranding. But every employee should know exactly what the organization is doing, and where it’s headed. Employees feel massively more motivated when they know the direction their company is headed, and middle managers and frontline staff can make better decisions in the moment if they understand the company’s objectives. A purely top-down strategy is too slow for today’s rapidly changing markets, so training your employees on the rationale of the change can be invaluable. For change to be effective, it must originate from all points in the organization.
3. Change needs to be Organized
Jeff Bezos famously claimed that “a maverick with great ideas is worthless without the organizational skills to manage them.” For a man who constantly talks about the importance of innovation and new ideas, Bezos also feels very strongly about the need to organize those ideas. For good change management, new protocols must be made universal and streamlined, focused and clear, and in as little time as possible.
G-Cube‘s organizational change management solutions are designed with these objectives in mind. We understand that for good change management, everyone from operations to marketing to sales to distribution must be on the same page and need to get there quickly. With our custom learning solutions, companies like yours will be able to rapidly mobilize your workforce in a fully standardized way that still feels both personalized and engaging. We’ve delighted hundreds of clients across every industry, selling new products or reorganizing their companies around new objectives, and we would love to speak to you about how G-Cube can help your next change be a successful one.