Willingness to change

Willingness to change: the key to success

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. – George Bernard Shaw

Why do you need change in your business?

It’s nice to think that success in business comes down to nothing more than hard work. That’s simply not the case. The world we live in is forcing transformation of industries. Organisational change is no longer optional. It’s absolutely vital if you want to keep pace.

Companies that actively pursue and embrace change are healthy, growing and dynamic. Those that fear change are stagnant and on their way to decline.

If you’re not willing to embrace change, you’re not ready to lead.

Why is willingness to change so important?

As a business owner, you’d be rather short-sighted to think that you can just tell your employees that it’s time for change and expect them all to enthusiastically play along. Humans have a common, natural instinct to resist change.

Willingness to change is one of the key ingredients which makes an organisation successful over its competitors. It indicates a conscious intent to do what is needed to achieve better results and to challenge views and perceptions. For change in your organisation to be a success, there must be a collective view that it’s a good idea. When people agree, they want to take action.

If you can manage the psychology, you’re about 95% of the way there. The wrong mind-set can really hold things back.

How do you create a willingness to change?

Willingness is created when people understand what you want them to do and, more importantly, why. It can be broken down into three broad stages:

1. Understanding that there is a good reason for change, that it’s not just some whim.

This stage might well be accompanied by an emotional response, often negative, related to the fear of losing control. You need to prove the path is neither irrational, impossible or not needed.

2. Accepting that the change is going to happen.

This may occur very quickly once the reasoning is understood. Or it may take longer to overcome resistance to change, until it’s accepted as inevitable.

3. Desiring

Internal motivations for this desire may vary. It could be excitement and passion, curiosity or even just a passive desire to just get it over and done with! But reaching this stage is critical to success.

The practical steps

I hope this article will get you thinking about the importance of change within your business. I hope it will help you understand that your company can only reap the rewards of change when it occurs at the level of the individual employee. And that this can only be achieved when everyone in the business is willing to change.

The three stages of creating that willingness – understanding, accepting, desiring – are pretty straightforward. But how do you achieve that on a practical level?

My next article will address just that. I will share my five steps to bring a willingness to change to your business. Your homework until then? You need to identify where the change in your business should occur. Start by thinking about these three questions:

  • How can you better serve your current customers?
  • What needs to change to profitably create new customers?
  • What changes would serve your workforce such that they can better address the previous two questions?


 If you can’t wait until my next article to get started on implementing change in your business, give me a call.

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