Will your business be different this year than it was last year, different this quarter than it was last quarter? So much of what people talk about in business these days is the pace of change but many times the problem in business is actually driving change that lasts and change that matters instead of just being forced to adapt to external factors or below par performance. If you want to know if your business is ready to be better in the future than it was in the past, ask yourself these questions.
Are my people capable of more?
As a leader one of the biggest jobs you have is ensuring that as time goes on your people are capable of accomplishing more. You only have a few levers to pull as it relates to improving what your business can accomplish. The most effective investment you can make is in the talent that makes up your business. Even if you are able to invest in new technology or new infrastructure, your people still have to make it work and execute well. Nothing is more critical for the growth of your business than the growth of your people.
Is my culture any different?
Culture makes most of the decisions in your company. Your people will conform to it whether it’s the one you want, or just the one that evolved because you didn’t consciously build a better one. If it’s risk averse, your business will be, if it’s undisciplined, your business will be. If it’s content with the status quo, your business will be. You can’t execute tomorrow’s strategy with today’s culture. Look at your culture today and if you can’t honestly say it’s better than it was six months or a year ago then decide specifically how it needs to change and start the change process now.
Are my leaders any better?
Ok, it’s possible that this one could lead to some introspection if you are a business leader yourself. The fact is that if your leaders still think the same way, act the same way, coach and mentor the same way and communicate the same way tomorrow then your business will achieve the same results. The changes that your business needs to make to achieve its potential, start with the leaders thinking, acting and communicating differently. People often say that change starts at the top and while I find that’s not always the case, what’s true is that until the leadership in the organization changes, no change is sustainable. What your leaders focus on, how they spend their time and what they believe will drive how your business performs. Sometimes I find companies whose leaders are focused on last month’s performance much more intently than the things that will drive a change in next month’s performance.
Changing the outcome is impossible to achieve unless you are focusing on the inputs. The things that will make your capabilities, your culture and your leaders better will drive the right kind of change in your business. Invest in these areas if you want change that matters and change that lasts.