Managing Change – Three Ways To Manage Change In Your Business

Any business that is serious about innovation and growth will have to master the ability to manage change because innovation will always lead to change. Before we get into the five points of the article, it’s important to provide a little context regarding change management in business and why it is such a huge area for improvement.

A PwC Report in 2013 from the Katzenbach Center with over 2,200 participants from various levels of business highlighted that the global success rate of major change initiatives is only 54% and 65% of employees feel pressured to adapt to too many changes at once. Already we can see that managing change is a difficult process as just over half succeed and more than half of employees feel pressured by change. Furthermore 48% of respondents stated that their company’s lacked the skills to ensure that change could be sustained. While an astounding 44% of survey participants reported to not understanding the changes they were expected to make. With these seemingly damning results the conclusion from the report was that any change management process should focus on being culturally driven from the top down and should be characterised by open communication and clear purpose.

With this information in mind here are three ways to improve your ability to manage change successfully in your business.

1. Drive Change Through Culture

In the Katzenbach Center report it was outlined that 84% of respondents believed that an organisation’s culture was vital to the success of the managing change. What this points to is that it is vital when aiming to make any long term changes within your business to consider the culture of your organisation and to understand that any significant change will be affected by the culture. With that being said a great way to try to drive change with your culture is by getting your employees excited about the changes by outlining their personal opportunities for development and growth during the process. Nothing motivates people more than showing them the personal benefit in what they are doing.

Another approach that could be used is to create a ‘Cultural Change Board’ to help drive change. This board would be made up of key individuals within your business who hold influential positions and importance to the culture of the company. While the owner or director and managers may be driving the strategic implementation of the change, this board would help get the rest of the employees on board. An example of individuals that might be a part of this group could be an individual who has great personal relationships across the whole business; this individual could be asked to get the others excited about the transformation by talking about its benefits. Another individual might be a long term employee who can add some perspective on how the employees and business are going with the transformation to the executive and managers. Another individual might be a young, innovative manager who is typically known as an ‘ideas’ individual. All three members of your ‘Cultural Change Board’ should liaise with management to convey the opinions and feelings about the process transformation. This technique not only opens up a strong line of communication between the staff and management but also helps to more firmly connect the change to the culture, as other employees will see these influential staff members as willing participants. If you can successfully use your businesses culture to drive the changes you want to implement your chances of success and long term adoption increase significantly.

 2Role Modelling From The Top Down

This step of the change management process seems to be very simple but its value cannot be overestimated. It is imperative that from day one of the transformation process that the desired process changes are integrated into the daily processes of all relevant employees. This goes from the most junior floor staff all the way through to the director or board members.

Role Modelling of the new processes in manager and staff daily routines has a twofold effect. Firstly employees that see their leaders undertaking the process changes will feel inclined to participate themselves. Seeing your manager or director undertaking the proposed changes creates a personal accountability for the changes in each employee. The second effect is that employees that see others undertaking the new changes in their daily routines will have a support network to draw upon. If individuals are unsure of how to execute the process or change they need only look at their neighbour and mimic their execution.

Obviously this point is very self-explanatory but the impact of not holistically carrying out the changes across all levels of the business cannot be overstated. A lack of consistent engagement with the changes will kill the transformation very quickly.

3. Fully Engaging With Change

Engagement with the proposed changes goes beyond simply telling employees to undertake the process changes or modelling them yourself. Engaging with change is a process that is enriched by structured communication. Some businesses when undertaking significant change will hold large ‘Town Hall’ style meetings. At these meetings employees from all levels of the company are invited to discuss how the changes would impact them.

Another method of opening up communication and increasing engagement would be to host IC (Innovation and Change) Meetings where a smaller numbers of employees would meet with their direct managers and discuss how the changes impact them, how they (changes) will help them and talk about how they will go about implementing the changes. These smaller meetings are great opportunities for management to get a feel for how their employees are dealing with the changes and to get a macro view of the transformation process.

A fantastic idea for managing change that was used by a global publishing house was hosting an Internal Change Fair. This fair basically brought together all the various departments and management teams to produce a short presentation or display that highlighted how the changes were being introduced and managed going forward. It provides a great way for individual departments to showcase innovative thinking and for driving change by making it slightly competitive amongst employees.

Change management is vital to any evolving small-medium enterprise; never forget that change starts at the top and that most people struggle with it. The role of the manager is to facilitate the easiest pathway for their employees to adapt.

Daring To Dash…Business Intelligence Dashboards

This article will discuss what a business intelligence dashboard is, some of its benefits for small business owners and some of the difficulties dashboards face for large scale adoption among small to medium enterprises.

What is a business intelligence dashboard?

A business intelligence dashboard at its most basic is a piece of software that displays important information about your business in real time. A dashboard system automatically processes data from your business’s major systems (e.g. point of sales systems, customer relationship management software, accounting software, staff rostering software etc) and presents that data securely to you in a visual format in real time.

On business intelligence dashboards the metrics that may be displayed can vary greatly from business to business as it depends on the owners/managements needs and the available outputs from their internal systems (Where the dashboard gets all its data from). Some metrics that may be displayed might be sales (daily/weekly/monthly comparisons), number of sales (by department or store and or comparisons), revenue, net profit, gross profit, costs, transactions per staff or countless others.

Below you can find a generic example of what a business intelligence dashboard may look:

Demo Dashboard

 

What are the benefits of having a business intelligence dashboard?

A professionally constructed and implemented dashboard can be a very powerful tool for owners and management to monitor and improve their businesses. Just three of the major benefits of operating a business intelligence dashboard are:

1) Information Accessibility: A dashboard consolidates a large proportion of meaningful data that businesses produce. A dashboard makes the collection and aggregation of the data easy often displaying multiple systems worth of data in one to two pages using graphs and tables. The process of analysing data which may have taken days or weeks to gather and analyse before can be done in real time, as often as business operators would like from either their computer or mobile devices via the internet.

2) Business Improvement: A dashboard makes business improvement and strategic planning easy as it places all the information managers need right on their computer monitor or mobile phone. A dashboard provides all the analytic and comparative data needed to improve and review business practices. Without data a business can’t improve itself, a dashboard supplies the data needed in an easily accessed and reviewed manner.

3) Reduced Administration Time: A dashboard reduces the need for staff or managers to store, aggregate and analyse data that the business generates. Gone are the days of generating countless reports or creating complicated Excel analysis matrixes. The dashboard automatically processes the data directly from business systems and presents it in a ready to use format.

These are only some of the many benefits of a sophisticated business intelligence dashboard; other tangible benefits may include: Modernisation of record keeping systems, employee performance improvement, visual goal tracking, comparative analysis, data that is mentally easier to process.

What are some difficulties with implementing a dashboard?

There are always difficulties when implementing a new technology into a business, the two major difficulties for business intelligence dashboards are the selection of the dashboard’s metrics and of course the construction of the dashboard.

1) Metrics Selection: A dashboard being an informational tool is only as effective as the information it is told to display. What this means is that business owners and developers have to be thoughtful and informed about what are the “key” business metrics for your business and also what are the underlying metrics for those key data sets. For example, if a key metric for your travel agency is sales then important underlying metrics that might need to be displayed could be number of leads produced/used, quotes/invoices sent, uptake rate of quotes, sale closure rate and or average transaction value. What data your dashboard displays will vary greatly depending on your business industry and needs so it is something that should be thought about in detail prior to contracting a developer.

2) Dashboard Design: Building a dashboard is a sophisticated and detailed process which requires expert knowledge and superb technical skills. This is because a dashboard needs to not only gather all your important information automatically but also analyse and display it in real time. Luckily for business owners and managers there are some very capable business intelligence companies out there such as Resurg which can cater for their dashboard needs. If you are interested in possibly discussing or implementing a dashboard for your business check out our dashboard page and give us a call or email us.

FREE Health Check for BIG 4 Holiday Parks

Resurg Group are now an offical partner of the “BiG 4 Centre of Excellence” providing profit improvement programs for all members.

Resurg have been a trusted partner of BIG 4 for nearly 10 years, with proven programs to increase sales and profit for parks.

Resurg provide a FREE HEALTH CHECK service for any park.  For details click here.

Competitive – Transient Advantage: Is It Leaving You?

As was mentioned in the first article in this month’s newsletter this article will focus primarily on how to assess whether your competitive advantage is at risk of being eroded while also presenting some further reading and content regarding developing competitive advantages in
small businesses.

Within a business environment that is increasingly being dictated by a transient-advantage economy; here are eight statements to ask yourself to determine whether your business might be at risk of losing some of its advantages:

1. I don’t buy or use my own company’s products or services
2. We’re investing at the same or higher levels and not getting better margins or growth in return
3. Customers are finding cheaper or simpler solutions to be “good enough”
4. Competition is emerging from places we didn’t expect
5. Customers are no longer excited about what we have to offer
6. We’re not considered a top place to work by the people we’d like to hire
7. Some of our best people are leaving
8. Our stock or services are perpetually undervalued

Taken From: McGrath, G, Rita – Harvard Business Review, Competitive Strategy, Issue – June, 2013
http://tinyurl.com/qhhtxzu

 

further rading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Competitive – Transient Advantage: Further Reading and Viewing

Title: Small Business Management: Launching and Growing New Ventures
By: Justin Gooderl Longenecker
From: http://tinyurl.com/nfy855g
This book has excellent sections on sustaining competitive advantage while also providing short examples and case studies discussing how to maintain and identify competitive advantages. Some of this book can be accessed for free online from Google books at the above link, some of the best pages are from page 33 – 47. In next month’s newsletter we will be discussing some of the content from this book in more detail.

 

Title: How To Boost Innovation: Why Small and Mid-Market Businesses Could Trump Start-Ups
By: Caitlin Fitzsimmons
From: http://tinyurl.com/oxafyov
A brief article from Business Review Weekly that discusses the importance of innovation from SMEs to the Australian economy and also provides a interesting graphic outline “Australia’s Innovation Ecosystem”. It is an interesting read to show the convergence of the variety of forces that drive and control business innovation. It also provided some albeit old (April 2014) context regarding the state of business and innovation.

 

Title: New Research Finds Workplace Culture Holds Many SMEs Back from Moving into the Innovation Fast Lane
By: Microsoft
From: http://tinyurl.com/owt49sb
The article is actually a press release regarding a research report that Microsoft recently carried out regarding business innovation. It provides some interesting statistics relevant to Small/Medium Enterprises in Australia and also provides links to their report where greater levels of information can be found. This research paper will be discussed in brief in next month’s newsletter.

Business Innovation: The Transient Advantage

Innovation

 

 

 
 

 

As was mentioned in last month’s newsletter this month’s main article will be focusing upon Professor Rita Gunther McGrath’s writings about developing a transient advantage in business and how companies in rapidly changing industries should be undertaking innovation and strategy implementation. This article should be particularly useful for those business owners within the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and the Travel / Tourism industries.

To begin with let’s summarise briefly what was covered last month in regards to creating a transient advantage. It was noted last month that business is becoming increasingly focused upon rapid, targeted evolution rather than longer term and broad planning. In many industries, in particular the FMCG and Travel industries business owners are beginning to realise that sustainable advantage is now becoming rare, where as transient advantage is becoming the norm. This means that innovation and strategy implementation is more often than not taking the form of quick cycle strategies or innovations rather than long cycle strategies, in order to evolve to a rapidly shifting marketplace. That summarises what was covered last month from here on out the rest of this article will be dedicated to discussing the implementation of a quick cycle, transient advantage innovation model. We will be doing this by looking at McGrath’s Wave of Transient Advantage and discussing some of the necessary skill sets and operational requirements needed to facilitate implementation of the optimal innovation model.

The first discussion point are the stages of developing a competitive advantage which simplified for brevity may consist of five distinctive phases which are:

1. Launch Phase
2. Development Phase
3. Exploitation Phase
4. Reconfiguration Phase
5. Disengagement Phase

These five phases all have a specific role to play in the strategic planning and integration of innovation and change within businesses, none more important than the Launch Phase. This initial phase is where companies focus on identifying opportunities for change andinnovation that may convey an advantage. It is also in this phase that the company allocates resources to develop the opportunity identified, these resources may include but not be limited to allocating staff, consultants, capital or simply time. This phase of innovation and strategic planning requires both the dreamers and managers. This is a phase which will benefit from employees who are ideas people and have the ability to test and adapt their ideas, while being able to manage and request the appropriate resources. It is this managing and requesting of the appropriate resources that leads to the Development Phase or colloquially known by McGrath as the “ramp up” phase. This is the phase when the initial launch idea is beginning to be initiated within the business to scale. This means that what may have started as a one department or one agent’s trial of the new innovation or program is now being resourced and delivered across multiple areas, staff or businesses. It is in this phase that the innovation process needs to be strictly managed and monitored by those with the authority to allocate resources. Following a successful phase of development and implementation there should be an Exploitation Phase. When transitioning to the exploitation phase it is important to bear in mind that the turnaround between launch and development should be fairly fast (weeks or a few months, always less than a year) to provide the maximum possible transient advantage.

It is during the Exploitation Phase that businesses should be capturing the majority of its profits, efficiency ratings and increased market share due to their innovation or strategy. So basically this phase is all about making money! Your company and its staff should be focusing on exploiting their new found competitive advantage and marketing their innovation to consumers. The more exposure and effective use of this advantage the more profitable your investment in its development becomes. While this phase is predominately about gain results or profit from your planning it is also the phase that has the most constant analysis and monitoring so I would argue it could equally be called the Exploitation and Analysis Phase.

The addition of Analysis to this phase is because in order to capitalise and assess the efficiency of your innovative practice or strategy there needs to be a large amount of analytic review of the businesses data. As a result this phase in particular requires employees or consultants with the ability to perform complex analysis of data and KPI information to determine the success, strengths and weaknesses of the implemented changes. This data may take the form of stock reports, sales reports, customer surveys or dashboard data analysis such as the one that Resurg operates. With that being said one of the clearest indications of the success of the innovation during this phase is that your competitors will react to your changes and seek to decrease your advantage. Ironically this means that the stronger the advantage you create the faster it may decline as your rivals throw resources into closing the competitive gap. It is this rapid decline in your recently acquired but quick declining advantage that leads to the Reconfiguration Phase.

This Reconfiguration Phase is very easy to explain in that it is fundamentally about making any changes to your existing strategy or innovation to keep it fresh and effective. That being said this is often one of the most difficult stages as it can be exceedingly difficult to rethink a business process or strategy and modify it to fit different circumstances. It is for this reason that often the Disengagement Phase will come shortly after or even during this phase. This last phase is when the innovative process, strategy or device has had its competitive advantage reduced to warrant the repeating of the five phase cycle to develop a fresh advantage. As you can clearly see some of these phases of innovation roll from one into the other, this is especially true for those businesses that undergo very rapid changes in market or data due to shifting market forces, consumer wants or seasonal supply and demand curves. Just explaining this best practice process of innovation makes it abundantly clear that companies must be looking at quick cycle innovation and strategic planning to stay ahead.

The whole idea of understanding these five distinctive phases of innovation and planning when seeking a transient advantage is so that your company can identify how it can create a pipeline for developing competitive advantages and innovative practices. By understanding what each phase entails it can help business owners and managers to understand what staff they need for each phase and what their goal should be for that phase.

In the second article of this newsletter we will briefly outline some of the key statements about whether or not your business is suffering a loss of competitive-transient advantage and provide some links to interesting further reading and viewing regarding developing competitive advantage in small businesses.

Business Today: Fast Facts

The Technology Driving Business

There are four key technological factors driving innovation and growth in business today that have been discussed in almost every major business publication, these are:

1. Big Data and Real-Time Analytics

2. Cloud Computing Solutions

3. Social Networking

4. Anytime, anywhere communication through internet connectivity (Telecommuting etc)

These four areas of business are seeing exponential growth and not only in technology industries, over the coming decade more and more industries will have to come to grips with the evolving technology landscape in business.

Video: Managing People by Steve Jobs

For any business owner or manager it is important to be constantly reflecting upon your management style and practice. This video of Steve Jobs talks about delegating responsibility to foster positive team environments and how to retain great employees through running a business by an idea rather than hierarchy. This video touches briefly on the idea of a “Catholic” business and a “Buddhist” business (although it isn’t mentioned formally). These business models are run through rigorous structure (Catholic) and one that is run by unifying philosophy (Buddhist e.g. Apple)

Video: Animation – Motivation and Driving Employees

This video is a great animation that is easy to understand which discusses motivation and driving employees based on academic research. This video talks about incentive based reward systems and why, when and how they work. The video also discusses positive motivational models with real examples and the elusive purpose motive. While the video is ten minutes in length there are some great insights in this video that can be taken in during a lunch break or on your daily public transport commute.

 

Business Innovation: Not Just A Buzz Word

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” Steve Jobs

In business today consumers are spoiled for choice and have nearly unlimited access to alternative vendors due to internet. In this era it is no longer good enough to just be one of the multitude, in order to prosper, succeed and lead business owners must look to the future. The future is accessed not by surviving but by identifying problems and innovating to solve them. As Steve Job’s said in a business market that desperately needs leaders innovation can be the distinguishing factor.

While many of you may be saying “my company constantly has to innovate due to factor X” or “we ARE innovators within our industry because of Y” there will be some who say “We don’t need to…” or “We don’t have time” or even “We can’t afford to…”. Innovation like Job’s also said isn’t about how much time or money you can pump into solving a problem it’s about creating the environment and having people thinking about the problem in a creative way. With that being said here are four ways you can help to foster an innovative environment:

Establish a Formalised Innovation Process 

The first barrier to fostering an environment of innovation in any business is creating a process or means for ideas and solutions to be communicated, examined and tested. What this basically means is that if an employee or manager was to come up with a great idea for solving a problem or innovating an old process what would they do with their idea? The first step for fostering innovation in this case would be to have a clear line of communication for the idea. The process for communicating ideas and solutions can take the form of a informal ‘innovation’ manager who documents and presents the ideas to upper management, innovation roundtables at staff meetings, suggestion boxes or office hours for managers, allowing free communication. The important point is that there is a formal means of communicating ideas for staff and managers in a way that will be healthy and productive.

That being said arguably the best means of formalising innovation is to add a “P&S Discussion” (Problem & Solution) to staff meetings. You can present to the group 2-3 problems that are being faced by your company whether it is adding value, refining/improving redundant processes or fixing operational efficiency, provide some easy problems and then supply a more difficult problem. Small successes will help foster a positive and creative thinking environment while the larger problem will provide a challenge. Using this method it is almost always a good idea to split your meeting into micro groups and give staff time to brainstorm solutions. Allowing staff to work together in groups can help foster creativity and will allow multiple levels of expertise, experience and prior knowledge to look for solutions together, as the old saying goes “two (or more!) heads are better than one”.

To help foster the critical and creative environment during these discussions try offering small incentives for participation or the best/most ideas. These reward don’t have to be large or monetary but can be anything your employees might view was a motivator such as a provided lunch or extra break time. A tally or displayed points board and the nature of giving incentives should help to motivate your employees not only through the reward but by a desire to compete against their peers. Creating competition in a healthy manner (observed) can often drive employees to think outside the box and can provide real value when it comes to innovation.

Innovating To Appropriate Scale

What this step really means is that business owners have to carefully choose how large of a idea or innovative project to implement. An innovative idea and its planning should target either a well known problem or provide a new way to add value to your business. The reason this is important is because business is driven by consumers and unfortunately consumers wants and needs change over time, stability is a lie. If your company comes up with a great new process or idea but it will take 12-18 months to implement, will it still be relevant and what if it doesn’t add as much value as you thought at a later date? Investing time and resources into designing, planning and implementing a new process or idea can be costly so owners and managers should think about what their desired outcome for that particular innovation will be and how long it will convey a competitive advantage. In today’s rapidly evolving business environment where the average life for some of the largest companies on the S&P 500 has declined from 61 years in 1958 to 25 years in 1980 to only 18 years in 2011 (Reuters) it is clear that competitive advantages erode quickly. What these statistics show is that change is constant and fast in big business so it is undoubtedly doubly so for small to medium enterprises. An evolving, transient business environment needs quick cycle innovation in order to convey an advantage however short term. It is this “Transient Advantage” created through quick cycle innovation rather than slow cycle innovation that Rita Gunther McGrath would argue in her book The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business that drives business profitability and success.

In industries where competitive advantages quickly erode such as fast-moving consumer goods, travel agents, electronics vendors, publishers or service industries any change that provides a competitive edge can mean the difference between profit and loss. That being said larger scale innovation and planning can be successful but more often than not the safer option is to innovate your business through quick cycle innovations as they still provide benefits but for less potential loss. Any company looking to grow their business in these industries should be looking at innovation as a driving force for growth and due to the transient nature of those industries their mantra to borrow from the US Marines should be “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome (in a timely manner)” through innovation.

For more specific information regarding creating a transient advantage see next month’s article.

Collaborate With A Partner 

This step’s value for fostering innovation cannot be underestimated. While making your employees think about creative solutions for problems is a good start to innovating processes and business models there is something that is even better. Having your company and employees work collaboratively with other employees or businesses. Collaborating with a partner for innovation may take the form of having an annual meeting of multiple store owners or managers where solving problems and innovating is the focus or it may also be a partnership with another business that can provide a service or expertise that your business currently lacks. Resurg would be an example of a potential business that could help foster innovation and collaboration through our Performance Workgroups Program where we gather non-competing businesses in the same industry to discuss problems and solutions. These Workgroups are content rich and ideas focused and look to provide tangible goals and targets for members to work on over the year.  Even attending industry conferences or networking meetings can provide worthwhile opportunities for collaboration. Don’t be afraid to seek expertise from your industry just choose your partner well.

Understanding Failure and Using It

While this tip may seem very self explanatory and common sense it is integral to the success of any company looking to innovate. Companies that understand failure is an inevitability are better prepared to deal with that fact when it happens. Failure is just the opportunity to re-examine the problem or plan and strengthen it. Failing during the innovation process should not be seen as the end but just the beginning of the process as the best solutions often come from trial, error and thorough testing. Having an environment where an idea’s failure isn’t viewed as a negative will encourage staff and managers to experiment and improve their ideas. Failure shouldn’t be the killer of creativity and innovation but the impetus for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Tips to Employing Deaf or Blind Individuals

By Dilara Earle and Justine Eltakchi

You may have never met a blind or deaf person before, let alone had a blind or deaf employee, so perhaps you don’t know what to expect or how to go about things a little differently. The thing is, the spectrum is far larger than most realise – or assume – and we may not necessarily have a cane, or always use sign language. More than likely, we’ll have very strong lenses that look like normal glasses or we’re bilingual – in both oral English and sign language. Read more

Federal Budget 2015: A Cautiously Improved Outlook For Small Business

Some journalists are characterising the budget as “the right budget” while others are calling it “confidence boosting” which is primarily true, particularly, if you are a small business owner with an annual revenue under $2,000,000. This budget for small business can be summarised by three things; tax breaks, tax cuts and tax code simplification. That being said, don’t believe the hype some of the media is promoting about this being just what the economy needed, while it is definitely a step in the right direction it is only the first step on the staircase to meaningful improvement. Notable journalist Ross Gittins who is the Sydney Morning Herald’s, Economics Editor summed it up perfectly when characterising Read more

End of Financial Year: Part 2 – Strategic Management Review 

This article will be continuing on from the last article on the facts of your business that should be reviewed and considered when approaching the end of financial year. Working your way through this checklist will assist you in improving your business efficiency, business profitability and set a strong foundation for the year ahead. Read more