As a business coach, I get hired to help companies grow and scale more quickly and more profitably. The founders, owners, and CEOs I work with are hungry to achieve more success and create more impact.
The challenge is that in order to accomplish the goals they have set for themselves and their businesses, they must be willing to make significant changes, both as an individual, and as a company.
People and organizations do not change easily. There is a significant amount of resistance to new ways of working and thinking. With change, comes risk and uncertainty, so it is natural for people and teams to be hesitant.
However, if you want to grow and scale your business, you must change. Your business will need to develop new strategies, establish new processes, and hire new people. More importantly, a company's leadership team needs to adopt new habits, embrace new roles, and evolve their thinking.
While change is hard, you can make it easier and more likely. Here are five techniques that I focus on to help companies embrace change and grow more quickly and successfully.
1. Create a future vision.
One of the main reasons change is hard is that people don't like uncertainty. Asking people to make changes without a clear picture of how the new way will work will only increase anxiety. In fact, the future doesn't even need to be rosy. People would rather move toward a clearly difficult future than one that is foggy.
Paint a vivid picture of the future, using all of the senses and addressing all of the likely questions and concerns that people will have about the new way of working. The more detail you can provide, the stronger it will be.
2. Expect it to be difficult.
One thing I always tell the executives I work with is that they should expect the process to be difficult. Change is hard and requires discipline and patience. If their expectations are not set correctly, when the going gets tough, they will give up rather than push through. Make it clear it will not bet a cakewalk.
3. Give people time.
It is great to have a goal and be excited to complete it quickly. However, change always takes time and energy and if you expect it to happen quickly and easily, you'll be disappointed. Time is a key factor in helping people navigate through the changing processes. Don't force it. If you feel people redlining, it's better to back off than push them past their limits.
4. Make it OK to fail.
People need to experiment with new ways of working in order to improve and develop mastery. Without a safe space to try out new strategies and techniques, your pace of change will be severely limited. Find ways to let people test things out in low-risk situations.
5. Talk about the emotions.
Change will also trigger emotions and feelings, and too often I see leaders gloss over these important factors. Create a time and place for people to discuss how they are feeling and explore what's driving these reactions. Being open and upfront with emotions will help people process them faster and find a way of addressing them before they fester and become a deeper issue.
Realistically, a high-growth business is full of change and much of it is hard. Everyone must step up and learn new skills and work in new ways. While not everyone will successfully make the transition, those who do will succeed because they've mastered the change process and learned how to transform not only the company as an organization, but themselves as leaders.