Change is the new status quoChange in life and business is inevitable, and harder for some business owners than others. But the pace of change is faster now more than ever, and those who are weak and unwilling to adapt run the risk of being left in the dust. While this might sound like a cliché, it is a concept worth embracing and considering. Ensuring that your organization is nimble and ready to meet new challenges and take advantage of sudden opportunities will ensure your survival, and possibly increase your chances for success.

Most people look at change from the standpoint of being good or bad. From this viewpoint, it is possible to make poor decisions, and misalign your next steps. By realizing that it is necessary for the world we live in to constantly be in a state of adjustment, growth, and sometimes, shock, you can come to a different conclusion about your potential options, and discover an opportunity that you otherwise would miss. This requires a more open-minded approach to life, and a new paradigm in which to base your expectations.

By expecting change, and running your business with an intent to constantly improve and take advantage of new technology, you have the opportunity to be at the forefront of the competition. The sad truth is that most small to medium-sized businesses are slow to upgrade their systems and processes, and those that do may be able to react faster to when new projects are presented.

Training is a critical component to ensuring that new systems, methods, and processes are embraced and utilized effectively by your employees. The reasons that most new systems fail is because of a lack of training. But training alone is not enough. I have also seen training fail because of a lack of accountability throughout an organization. Just teaching people new methods is not enough. It is essential that management require the new systems to be used, and enforce polices and processes that are introduced.

One effective method for doing this is to review critical financial metrics and performance reports in weekly and monthly meetings. Many employees will only keep critical data, such as project budgets, opportunity data, and other key financial information up to date when they know that it is going to be evaluated and scrutinized on a regular basis, and especially in a “public” forum. By putting the spotlight on the key performance indicators and results that you are looking for from your project managers, you can keep your team focused on the numbers that will indicate whether the changes you are making are working.

If your business is not changing and improving, it is at risk of losing to more adaptable competitors. While change should not be made just for the sake of change, it is critical to look at what others in your industry are doing, as well as understand your clients’ expectations. Those firms that enable their employees by giving them the best tools and sufficient training are usually in the top percent of firms for revenue growth and profitability. What can your firm change that will make a difference?

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