If you want to succeed in business, you need to get used to change. Look around at your industry, your organisation, your products and services, your team – everything is shifting and evolving.
The challenge faced by most organisations is that humans are physiologically programmed to resist change. Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. It’s a natural reaction.
So how do we become champions of change in our organisation and make sure we are keeping up?
A model for dealing with change
Psychologist Kurt Lewin introduced a change management model in the 1950s which identified three key stages in facilitating organisational change.
Behavioural ‘norms’ need to be thawed out in this stage. This is where change is initiated and individuals are most reluctant. As a manager, your influence is required to demonstrate the positives and potential of change, and how it will work.
This period can last for an extended time, as new methods, strategies and norms are built into organisational operations. This is where managerial input and leadership are crucial.
Validation and demonstration of the benefits of the changes that have been introduced
Be responsive to change in the marketplace
At HV Aluminium we pay very close attention to what our customers want. Without a strong focus on our key markets and their changing preferences, we would have no chance of remaining competitive. Identifying these trends is only half the battle; the real challenge for successful managers is steering the ship accordingly.
In our industry, we’ve seen a shift towards more eco-friendly preferences in terms of manufacturing expectations. In addition, our customers also want to know how additional structures can be less reliant on resources to get the most value for the household.
In general, we are also seeing a more sophisticated and educated market, where information, price comparisons and diverse tastes are all fuelled by the amount of information available online.
We achieve this by listening to our customers at every touchpoint along their journey, which is becoming more complex, but also more quantifiable, in the digital age. What does your customer data tell you about emerging trends?
No matter what industry an organisation operates in, they will only ever be successful if they truly understand the needs of the market they are servicing. Be fluid, make the effort.
External forces can shape the direction of your business
Believe it or not, public perception is having a strong impact on your business, your products and your future. No matter how much you pay your marketing or PR team, they are no match for the power of shifting consumer preferences or regulatory compliance requirements.
With over 20 years experience working at HV Aluminium, it’s safe to say there have been some significant changes to work through. Most recently, some of the most critical changes have been:
- Greater value based on environmentally sustainable products and business practice
- Technological advancements increasing product functionality
- Development approval process has changed a lot; it has become more stringent in some respects, but also some concessions have been made to fast track small building applications and modifications.
Play to your strengths and transfer your skills
No matter where you are in your career, or the amount of responsibility you have within the business, you will encounter change. Sometimes it will be rapid and unexpected, other times you will get a chance to plan for it strategically.
If you can identify your strengths early on, you will find that you will carry more confidence into turbulent situations. Starting out as a fitter and turner At BHP, I was always the kind of person with an eye for detail. I valued consistency and accuracy, and I still very much do. I was fortunate enough to be allowed space to grow professionally and found myself applying my attention to detail across other areas of the business including project materials lists and later, wholesale management duties.
We can spend our entire lives trying to predict the outcome of every possible scenario in business, as we do in life, but the truth is that change is the only thing we can safely bet on.
By taking a fresh approach to situations and remembering some of the suggestions in this article, you can start to become a champion of change in your organisation by embracing the uncertainty and capitalising on every opportunity with which you are presented.
With over 20 years experience working with HV Aluminium, Neil Winterborn has watched the company grow in a constantly changing industry.
Throughout his entire career, which began as a fitter and turner with BHP, Neil credits his attention to detail for much of his success.
As the Wholesale Manager at HV Aluminium, Neil is now responsible for driving growth and results across the entire wholesale department.
With a unique ability to identify and develop opportunities to expanding the business, Neil's wide range of experience throughout the company have allowed him to get a deep insight into how change affects organisations at every level.