How to put some Spring into Your Business

Picture by Nana B Agyel via Flickr

Picture by Nana B Agyel via Flickr

If you want to improve you must be willing to change.  It is a stark reality of life that every day you are either getting better or getting worse.   The same is true in business, it is either improving or it’s slipping.  There is no such thing as maintaining status quo – in business it doesn’t exist.  At the end of each day, regardless of how minimal the change, there is a mathematical calculation that would confirm whether your business either moved forward or backward; it did not stay the same.

Spring, Change, and Fear…

Of the four seasons, spring produces the most rapid and sometime unpredictable changes.   It often starts with an unassuming string of warmer days and advances quickly from there.   The outdoors seems to come to life almost overnight going from brown to green in a matter of days.  And, based on the current forecast, much of North America may be experiencing it this week!

Spring is near. The days are getting longer, the temperatures are climbing, and daylight savings time arrives adding an extra hour of daylight each evening. Some years it feels like this all happens almost overnight.

One would think the new life of spring is all positive change and most would agree it is.  But there are two sides to every story. Not to intentionally make a dark observation, but did you know late spring to early summer is when the most suicides occur?  Could one factor be that it’s partially due to our brain’s instinctive fear of change, even when the (climate) change being experienced is perceived as positive?   Maybe it’s too much change too fast or maybe it’s the lack of control over the change?  In any event – there’s little argument that change drives fear and resistance.

Spring, Change overload, and Brick walls….

Spring remains a time of year when many businesses are implementing change.   Some if it is carryover from 1st quarter goals and some ideas are new – driven by the market and competition.   When we are working with businesses, especially during strategic planning sessions we collectively generate a number of valid and valuable initiatives for the company. And, naturally most initiatives include change – all good, maybe even great ideas…but implementation generally requires something to change.

Often the list of ideas and improvements or changes gets so lengthy it begins to look like a brick wall is being built between where the company is today and where it wants to be in the future.  Eager owners often want to run through the wall instead of tearing it down brick by brick.  Their thought process is, “These are all great ideas that are going to help the business, right?”  “The sooner we get them in place the better the business is going to be, right?”   “Let’s run through the wall!”  “Make those changes now…!”

The owner has the best of intentions and certainly isn’t meant to be malicious towards the employees, but implementing too many changes too fast can be disastrous.  We forget that the natural response to change is fear.  And, that fear can create chaos in the business, even when it may only be a series of minor changes.  Change overload does not work and trying to run through brick walls only gives you a head ache.

Spring, Slow change, and Results…

Instead of running through the brick wall, try this approach.  Once you establish your list, prioritize them into manageable tasks so that you can measure progress as ideas are implemented.  Break down the brick wall, but only knock down a few bricks at a time so you aren’t stressing out your company with too much change. Make sure your staff have time to process what is taking place. Even though it seems slower, I assure you taking this approach is much more likely to produce the results you are hoping to achieve.

Slow change is always better, but especially during spring; nature is already providing a lot for our brains to process, even if we know it is coming.   Give yourself a break in your business and incorporate your changes slowly.  You will be pleased with the results.  Who knows you might even find some extra time to enjoy the spring weather?

What about you?  How does your business respond to change in the spring?   Do you run through walls? Have you tried to slow down to implement changes?   Please feel free to add your comments in the space below.

Chris Steinlage,  Kansas City Business Coach