Growth and disruption are fundamentally driven by change. Change is a constant of business, and it can take many forms, whether it’s a change in technology, market demand, supply, regulations, or anything else. Seeing this dynamic environment as a perpetual growth opportunity, and adapting to and capitalising on it is the key to establishing yourself and your business as a leader and a forward-thinking force in your industry.
As a business owner, however, you can’t put your business into that role on your own. You’ll need the support of investors, managers, and regular employees, many of whom may be hesitant about embracing change, or downright resistant to it. To keep your business flexible and moving forward, you’ll need to work to manage that negativity, and encourage a more positive outlook.
People with a negative outlook often aren’t focused on what your business could be in the future, but rather more concerned about preserving the status quo. This might feel like a safe, low-risk approach, but it’s fundamentally not. In any remotely competitive industry, complacency is a recipe for decline. The only way forward is to compete through development and progress. Because of that, the end goal for your business is always disruption: to revolutionise your industry and establish your business as a leader.
Stress that standing still is riskier than trying new things. Once your doubters are convinced that change is inevitable and necessary, you’ll be able to begin turning them into valuable assets ready to facilitate your business’ success.
Promote the big picture
In most industries, big changes come in small, highly specific packages. A design change to your equipment might drastically cut production costs, or perhaps new proprietary software can enable employees to work remotely more easily. To some, changes like this might seem irrelevant, or too insignificant to expend time and resources on. Often, this is a result of being too short sighted, and not being able to visualise the end goal of a given action.
To change that, you’ll need to help provide the perspective those individuals need to understand the larger purpose behind smaller changes. Sit down with your development team, and lay down an integrated growth plan that shows how individual changes are meant to contribute to creating a flexible, innovative, and disruptive organisation. Done well, this will allow you to concretely show how smaller, apparently superfluous changes are necessary and beneficial.
Encourage doubters to get involved
Every organisation has its debbie-downers, who work hard to point out every possible flaw and risk in any proposed action. While these people can feel like a stifling presence in your conference room, you can actually turn them into a valuable asset. Their analytical approach helps them to identify potential problems, and involving them in the creative process can ultimately help you develop better and more durable strategies. Of course, before you can do that, their nay-saying will first need to be turned into a more productive, solutions-oriented approach.
Instead of trying to build a criticism-proof plan, practice involving critics in the process. Don’t argue against well-made points, but rather acknowledge them and immediately follow up with a solicitation for improvements and better solutions. By asking them how they would attack a problem, you can help them to move their focus toward innovation, while simultaneously accessing their expertise.
Surround yourself in a constructive culture
The more a business can harness the innovative potential of its constituents, the easier it will be to come up with new and effective solutions to help your organisation compete. That means that once you’ve developed the support you need from investors and leaders within your organisation, it’s time to work on infusing your team, other potential investors, and even your target markets with innovative enthusiasm.
Managers, representatives, and marketers should stress a message of novelty and progress. Continuously communicate where your business is going, and what that means for your customers, your employees, and your investors. Encourage employees to discuss potential inefficiencies amongst themselves and brainstorm solutions rather than complacently settling for problems just because something has always been a certain way. By allowing and encouraging everyone to participate, you can begin to aggregate more of the knowledge and creativity of your workforce to deliver better solutions to your customers.
Go out of your way to address negativity and nay-saying, and encourage constructive, positive thinking, and you’ll naturally pave the way for growth and development in the future. Further, you can build a culture of innovation and progress that can transform your business as a workplace and redefine your place in your industry.