Faced with the storm of change, firms in many industries are confronting some challenging economic times and are making major adjustments to survive, compete and ultimately thrive.
Doing business has never been easy, but winning now is rising to a whole new level of difficulty. Bidding everything that remotely matches up to your firm’s capabilities without gathering critical Intel, passively “farming” your current customers for more business, or merely tweaking your proposal process won’t provide the winning formula for revenue growth.
Your likely results are lessons that are too costly in time, personnel effort and budgets.
In the current business climate, the day of throwing proposal budgets at opportunities and driving to the bank are over. Many organizations have discovered there’s a critical missing link at the front end of Business Development processes caused by this changed landscape.
But how do you change the way you go about pursuing new business when being passive used to work so well, and for so long? How do you get an organization to change and to make this change stick?
The key to long-lasting organizational change is transforming the ingrained attitudes, beliefs, values or “mindset” of personnel through embracing these four strategies to change culture.
- Solidify management’s commitment to the new objectives, methods, expectations or roles and behaviors. Change starts at the top of an organization. Leadership must buy into every aspect of the need to change the status quo. Management must exhibit the desire for change and actively promote follow though if a transformation is going to last.
- Communicate to everyone that roles and expectations are changing, behavior has to change, and likewise their thinking has to change, too. To make a substantial shift, you have to transform the organizational “mindset.” Mindset is the ingrained attitudes, beliefs, values and approach to a situation. Changing a mindset needs to be done at the role level. Individuals need to introspectively evaluate their thinking in light of the role they’ve been working in, as well as the role they are now being asked to move to in the transformed organization.
- Install reinforcement and support systems to bolster changes, such as a process to win new business and training in this new system. It also requires strong leadership who dive in, exemplify and promote the change, not just giving it lip service.
- Provide training and insights into how personnel can adjust their thinking if they want to succeed in a new role.
Not everyone is prepared to change. So how can you deal with this?
- Communicate the expectations in the new role, the new process, the requirements and the behavior required.
- Provide professional development training for all individuals, especially for those team members who struggle with adapting to changes in their role.
- Allow individuals to make their own decision to move ahead and embrace the changes or not. Give them the opportunity to volunteer or de-volunteer. Ultimately, only they can make change happen for them.
Everyone says they’re for change … they just don’t want to be changed.
There’s an old saying that rings true in this situation. When the pain of change is less than the pain you’re in … you will change. The origin of this saying is not clear; however, it is based upon Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene Concept, which proved people are more motivated to avoid a negative (pain) than to pursue a positive.
At some time in our lives, all of us finally realize that motivation starts first with dissatisfaction. The degree of that dissatisfaction and the ramifications of the situation generate discomfort. Only as that pain increases over time are you motivated and pushed to move forward. There is no growth without pain.
Change for the better always requires letting loose of the status quo … the traditional way of acquiring business. Moving ahead, learning a new process, dealing with frustrations, and even experiencing some failures, are better avenues than sticking with a previously accepted method, which no longer works in this new economy.
Change won’t begin until you seize the courage and mental discipline to immerse yourself in a certain amount of dissatisfaction about where you are at present, and finally realize your need to adjust.
Losing new business you banked on, watching your client base shrink and reporting flat or declining revenue are all painful symptoms of an organization needing a culture change … a Business Development “make-over.”