“The truth is, hardly any of us have ethical energy for more than one really inflexible point of honor.” – George Bernard Shaw
Lately in this space we’ve talked about purposefully being uncomfortable, about constantly questioning, about the need to adapt, and so on. All good things. That said, as some of our loyal readers have pointed out, it’s overwhelming to think about changing everything. Surely there must be some things that don’t change, right? Right?
Of course there are. I wouldn’t suggest to anyone who’s leading a business that they should start their business from scratch every few months. Most people would have a meltdown if they tried. With few exceptions, most of us don’t have the capacity or capability to handle that.
What I would suggest to anyone who’s leading a business is that the things that don’t change are usually the WHY’s of who we are as a business, rather than the WHAT’s or HOW’s. In other words, your purpose as an organization might be consistent, but what you do to advance that purpose, and how you do it – that has to be constantly evolving.
The best example I can think of is a non-profit organization who I was fortunate enough to work with many years ago. This organization’s mission is to improve the independence and quality of life of people with special needs. At the time I worked with them, they had around 20 programs that attempted to do that, and each of those programs had specific processes, events, personnel, etc.
That organization still exists, nearly twenty years later, and their mission hasn’t changed. However, now have around 25 programs, and 15 of them are new since I was involved. Of the ten remaining originals, they have changed processes, new events, different personnel, etc. The reason they exist hasn’t change, but what they do and how they do it has changed tremendously.
Think about that in your business. What is your absolute core purpose for existence? That core thing probably isn’t going to change, or at least it won’t change much. But what exactly are you doing to advance that purpose? And how do you do those things? More importantly, what will you need to be doing to advance that purpose in 5-10 years? What will that group that you’re serving really need from you? How will you provide that to them?
Remember that this isn’t just some abstract exercise. If you can’t provide what your market needs, you will not exist. If you can’t provide what they need in a way that works for them and for you, you will not exist. This isn’t just fun brainstorming. This is about your ability to exist as a business. If you’re not having these conversations, it’s time to get started.
The Pareto rule works here. 20% of the changes create 80% of the impact so the key to success is to make sure you work out which of the most strategic changes to make. Once decided make sure that you are change readiness is in place, the capabilities of the people and the organisation are developed, and the belief systems around that specific change you want are positive and you can’t go wrong.