Change, to some degree, is something we all struggle with. Whether it is changing our hairstyle or adopting new software, there will always be some apprehensions to change. One of the first elements that come to mind when thinking about change is "why". Why would I change? Why do I need to change? Why does our company need to make this change? Why can we not just keep the same process, it is working fine.
Most people do not like change, and if they tell you they do, the change either benefits them or they are lying. Change can be scary. Change brings about uneasiness and means that we have to step outside of our comfort zone. It means doing something that we (most likely) have never done before. Change has all these negative connotations when it should really be looked at in a positive light. It is a chance to grow, to learn something new, to improve, to build something better and stronger. Change is good, and change should be welcomed.
What Does Change Mean?
In the dictionary, the definition of change is to make someone or something different, altered, or modified. It is to replace something with something else, often something of a similar kind that is newer or better. By that definition, would we all not want to change? Something newer or better, sign me up!
However, change does not always mean newer or better. We have all experienced change that ended out being for the worst. As the old saying goes, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Some of us found out the hard way. Not everything will always go the way we had hoped it would, but with proper guidance, communication, and openness, change can be for the good. Whether we think it is or not.
How to Overcome Common Obstacles of Change
Change is not something that just happens, it needs to be adopted. The first step in identifying a change is answering these few questions:
- Why do we need to change?
- Who can help us change?
- How does this change improve our operations?
- What happens if we do not change?
Internally, there needs to be a team of champions who are pushing forward. This team should consist of the individuals who have answered these questions and identified a pathway forward. Without a reason to change, making it happen will be very difficult and be met with resistance from other team members.
1. Address Issues Upfront
Why are we fixing something that is not broken? We are not ready to make this type of change. Is this change just happening for the sake of change?
Nobody likes large, unexpected changes. People like to know that the reason a change is being implemented is because it needs to be done, not because people want it to be done. On its surface, there may be existing elements that seem like they are working fine. Processes may be working as they should and revenue is coming in. But what about improving existing processes or solutions? What if there was a way to increase revenue every month, double over the next two years, or just win more federal contracts? It sounds like it is not change that people are afraid of, it is growth.
"One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain." - Rick Godwin
If people can see or understand that a change improves an existing process, saves them time, and makes the company and their salary grow, that is something people can get behind. People need to get behind the change to help make it happen. When there is a pathway forward, it seems less scary and more people will join the movement.
2. Stop Being Comfortable
We all love the comfort of our home. Why? Because it is our happy place, we feel safe there, it is our comfort zone. However, in business, there should never be a comfort zone. When a business is in its comfort zone, it is a severe problem that needs to be addressed, immediately.
In terms of federal contracting, winning contracts is good for revenue, but what if instead of winning five contracts, that number increased to seven, nine, or 10? The best part about growth is that everyone else wants to grow too. If you think your competitors are comfortable continuing to lose opportunities to you, think again. Everyone and every company should want to grow.
Adopting a new program, process, or overcoming a consistent challenge is a good change. And if and when people say that x, y, or z happened the last time a similar change was implemented, how can their concerns be addressed to ensure it will not happen again? Change is hard, but the first step forward is being able to step outside of a comfort zone.
Step outside that comfort zone and get a little sun!
3. Keep Open Lines of Communication
Stop trying to implement change without people knowing. This is the ripple effect. A small pebble thrown into a body of water makes lasting ripples far outside of the initial entry point. The same happens when change is implemented in your business. If you try to do it without people knowing, it is only a matter of time before they do.
When looking to change, create a path forward and let the right teams know. When people are unaware of changes being implemented, they often think the worst. If employees are unaware of what the future holds, even if you reaffirm that everything will be fine, fear and hesitation set in. Rumors begin to swirl and anger can bubble up. Changes should never be surprises.
Remember the kid's game, telephone? Someone starts with a message and as it goes around the circle, things change and people begin to have their own interpretation of the initial saying all to get back to the first person finding out it is nowhere near what was actually said.
Squash rumors by being upfront and forward from the get-go. Make sure everyone is on the same page, let them know why the change is happening, how it is going to benefit everyone, and be honest. Let them know that there is an action plan in place and who will be leading the charge. Communicate where the process stands, milestones achieved, and expectations of what needs to happen and why.
Did Someone Say Change?
When it comes to changing internal solutions, identify needs that are not currently being met and what potential solutions are available. There are many solutions available to federal contractors, but they all provide something different. At Federal Compass, we pride ourselves on being different. We go against the status quo, not because we want to try something different, but because we want to provide a solution that helps federal contractors change for the better.
Our goal is to provide a personalized solution for federal contractors so they can focus on what matters to their business. What are their customers buying, who is buying, where is their competition, who are potential incumbents, where are their recompetes, everything that helps them win more federal dollars.
Learn more about Federal Compass and how you can enact a positive change on your federal contracting business today.