Why Change Is Necessary and How to Implement It

*Originally published on SecuritySales.com

Embracing change is mandatory for the survival of your security enterprise. With the right change process your entire team will gain energy and engagement.

The only constant in life is change. Change in business in 2020 was an object lesson for anyone who would doubt the words of Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher (535-475 B.C.). “Nothing in life is permanent, nor can it be, because the very nature of existence is change.” Why should we listen to a voice from 2,500 years ago? Because it is still true today.

His famous saying, “No man ever steps in the same river twice … ” The security industry river has certainly changed course, depth and flow during the past 14 months bringing with it tremendous and irreversible changes. Some survived, some did not and some thrived. However, no one was left unchanged.

Last year changed the direction and flow of our security river with new challenges, flows of technology, different flows of working conditions and adjusting to the Class 5 rapids of your customers’ turbulent needs. Have you personally changed? Has your business perspective changed? Has your company revenue model changed? Have your employees’ attitudes changed about work? If not, how is the weather on Mars this time of year?

The godfather of Six Sigma, Dr. W. Edwards Deming, famously said, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” However, embracing change is mandatory for the survival of your security enterprise. Changing your perspective on the diversity of talent and their different needs for career growth. This been a constant for several years. So how do you begin that process?

Schedule time to step out of the tornado. Start by thinking quietly and without any outside voices and noise. Get out of the office and bring a yellow note pad. Begin by answering these questions:

  • Will our current business model sustain growth, as it did in the past, with our current structure and overheads?
  • Will our traditional revenue paths grow, stagnate, or shrink? Why?
  • Have market conditions changed how our customers use their facilities?
  • Have our customers buying habits changed?
  • Do our processes enable or disable associates’ motivation and loyalty?
  • Do we have the management bench strength of talent to address these changes?
  • What will be the biggest challenge to enabling change? Is it me?

In our executive coaching work, we typically ask those questions. We are rather firm in holding our clients accountable for looking in the mirror without blinking or crying. This is mandatory to begin the process. If you get weak knees with answering these questions, then change will indeed change your company, whether you like it or not.

Once you have gone through this exercise, put it down for a week. Pick it up and do it again with fresh eyes and some editing. Your edits and corrections will provide a change roadmap for your journey. What is the next step in that journey?

Engage your departmental leadership using the same exercise and questions. Do not share your answers or thoughts yet, it will taint creativity. Ask them to provide their perspectives. This will be rather insightful to better understand your bench strength and their critical thinking skills. There are a few caveats to understand.

  • If your leadership style is autocratic and you tend to frown on different opinions, this exercise will not be of great value because your team will tell you what you want to hear. This echo chamber effect will not support positive company change.
  • If, on the other hand, you are a more consensus style leader, this exercise will yield interesting results that you can use to compare/contrast with your initial work. Your more proactive leaders will step up. Your change resistant leaders will also identify themselves.

Those who embrace change will drive it. Those who don’t will passively aggressively resist it. Just recognize what seat on the bus your team will be sitting in during a change journey. With the right process, and believe me it is a process, your entire team will gain energy and engagement. Someone said it much better than I could have.

“If you cannot describe what you do as a process, you don’t know what you are doing,” said Deming. As a recovering engineer, I could not agree more. Well thought out processes that are designed, defined, reviewed and tested, not by management alone, will be trusted and embraced by your team.

We start by helping clients graphically Matterhorn Action Process Plan (MAPP) process change as teams in three steps. It is fun, enlightening, surprising, insightful, and even engages the company curmudgeons to share their perspectives. The greatest ROI on this approach?

You will dramatically improve company communication, respect and collaboration. These are essential for implementing successful and sustainable change.

Next month I will share why this process works so well!