Businesses unlikely immune to change

IN TODAY'S business world, the idea that a company is immune to change is likely mistaken, said Lin Hart of Hart and Associates at the Dairy Distribution and Fleet Management Conference March 28-31 in San Antonio, Texas.

“You'll never be able to control change, so focus on something you can control, and know that change always brings opportunity,” he said in discussing how managers can recognize transformations occurring in the workplace and how they can take advantage of the accompanying options.

Some companies die despite opportunities if they wait too long to react to new situations. “Learn to do the things that you know you need to do before you have to,” he said. “You shouldn't have to wait for a crisis to do the right thing.”

While many managers can handle stress that comes with traditional change, such as a transfer to another location, they may find it more difficult to deal with unexpected and powerful changes.

He pointed out that people who have a high resiliency to stress are being rewarded by their companies. “These are the people who have the ability to bend, but not break, during times of great change,” he said.

However, he pointed out that risks come with mergers and acquisitions, as well as unexpected and new customer and client expectations. One of the best ways for managers to cope with stress-causing situations is to evaluate their own management skills to determine which are successful. “Ask yourself what works and what doesn't,” he said.

Some managers may confuse their titles with their workplace duties. “Being a director doesn't necessarily mean the job is to direct,” he said. More likely the job requires leadership and the ability to “know what is going on around you.”

Another problem arises when managers think of leadership as trying to be a hero rather than an enabler.

“As we accelerate into the new millennium, the stakes will rise dramatically as people and companies struggle to keep up,” he said. “If you consider this bad news, think again. The new effect will be good news for those who understand the new rules of the game.”

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