We have all heard the phrase “the only guarantees in life are Death and Taxes”. I would argue that “Change” should be added to that list.
Most people see change as an unwelcome event and resist it. They understand their job, its routines, expectations, and outcomes. “I come into work, I do ‘X’ and I go home”. No surprises. It all gets comfortable, and its predictability creates a feeling of security for your employees.
So, when changes are needed to “X, Y and Z” (or even just “X”), your employees become nervous. The change removes the feeling of security and creates one of insecurity. This hesitancy is why it can be so difficult to grow.
How can you help people see change as a positive thing? Develop a culture in your company that thrives on change, and embraces new ways of getting the job done.
Change is happening at an exponential rate that continues to compress time. Think about the technology changes in the span of a third-generational business:
1970 – Business founded by G1 and first child born (G2)
Business tools: Typewriter, carbon paper, yellow pages, and something called a fax machine
1992 – First G2 child graduated college, wants to join the business and has new ideas
Business tools: Xerox machine, PCs, email and flip phone
2009 – G2 is now leading the company and their children (G3) growing up with mobile devices
Business tools: Smartphones replacing Blackberrys; digital banking; social media
2022 – G3 is driving sales and innovation, while G2 is starting a succession plan
Business tools: 5G, Zoom, apps, the cloud, and blockchain
Because an organization’s adoption of technology is so much slower than the rate of its development you can see how the next generation may want to come in and start making all kinds of changes to bring the company up to speed.
If ideas of change are accepted, it could feel like a cataclysmic event – where something happens that drives fast adoption of technology, and the company takes a GIANT step forward.
If these ideas are NOT accepted, it can lead to disruption, disagreements, and delays. It can also drive a big wedge in between the generations on how to best take the company forward and continue its growth.
Technology innovations clearly demonstrate the speed of change and how these shifts can create a gap between generations in a family business.
As the world is forever evolving around us, we must remember to embrace change or eventually, we too will become obsolete. The more comfortable you can be with change, the quicker you can adapt, and the faster you will be able to build a sustainable company and generational legacy.
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