If there is one constant in life, it is change. Even here in NWA, we can’t escape the transformations in both daily life and business, which seem to grow faster with each passing day. Just look at how we communicate. Digital media and capabilities are having a profound impact on people all over the world.
This digital transformation means we can fact-check something we saw on TV, learn more about candidates and their positions, or purchase a product with one click wherever we are. And this sudden acceleration is relatively new: since 2006, we’ve witnessed the advent of smartphones, tablets, social media, autonomous vehicles, and robotic factories, to name a few. Rapid and accelerating transformations are here to stay, and it’s up to us whether we embrace it or get left behind.
Need more proof? There was a time not too long ago when Blockbuster sat atop the video rental industry. With thousands of retail locations, millions of customers, massive marketing budgets and efficient operations, it dominated the competition. It’s not surprising, then, that Blockbuster’s leadership balked at the idea of partnering with a fledgling online video streaming provider. In fact, as the story goes, Reed Hastings, founder of Netflix, was laughed out of the room when he presented this idea to Blockbuster in 2000.
We all know what happened next. The irony is that Blockbuster failed in part because its leadership had built a well-oiled operational machine that was poorly suited to let in new information. Its leadership’s fatal flaw wasn’t one of intelligence or capability, but a failure to understand what was changing and how they could – or should – embrace that change.
Embracing change is something we do well here at RB. We’ve always prided ourselves on being disruptors – using new channels and platforms, entering into unique collaborations, utilizing the latest technology, and finding the latest ways to connect with consumers who rely on our products to live healthier and happier lives. In other words, being disruptors – and embracing change – means doing more than imaging the future of our business. It means creating it. If you or your business are undergoing change, take this advice from someone who has been in the Consumer Packaged Goods business for more than 30 years:
- If you notice changes, your team is noticing them as well. Acknowledge the changes with your team and keep an open channel of communication.
- Make it a point to communicate with your team frequently. We utilize a weekly staff meeting to discuss work streams and change management.
- Everyone on your team will embrace and understand change differently. Take the time to talk to each member of the team and make sure they understand why things are happening.
- Communicate externally. Make sure your customer understands what you are doing and why you are doing it. If you are changing, it will likely impact your customers.
- If you have made significant changes, track your results. Are your business results getting better or worse? Is internal and external engagement improving or lagging?
- When recruiting, be honest. Some candidates like change and some do not. If you can sense a candidate does not like change and your company is constantly evolving, they are probably not a good fit.
- As a leader, you set the tone. Change can be frustrating and rewarding simultaneously. Amplify the positive and minimize the negative.
- Finally, check in with other parts of the business frequently. With big change, it is possible to become disconnected. Use your internal networks to keep everyone informed and on the same page.
Change can be a good thing, and when done right can lead to better outcomes. The difference between a good and bad evolution is how it’s managed – it’s the difference between a highly functioning team and a team that does not deliver on their objectives. Since change is here to stay, embrace it and work to make every growing experience a positive one.
*Global Vice President of Sales, Walmart – Reckitt Benckiser
*Title and company of the author reflect their position at the time article was written.
The opinions expressed here by guest bloggers are their own, not necessarily those of Stout Executive Search.