By John Muscarella
Senior Director, Cox Business
Change is an inevitable and necessary part of life. When embraced, change opens doors and leads to growth and success. But embracing change in organizations isn’t always easy.
Many people have negative associations with change and are hesitant to embrace the new and the unknown. Over the past three years, the average organization has taken on five major change initiatives, and alarmingly, only 34 percent of these change initiatives were successful.
With 75 percent of organizations expecting to multiply the number of change initiatives they take on over the next three years, here are four foundational elements to help you and your team successfully embrace and lead change throughout your organization and industry.
- Anticipate Change
Is your organization actively anticipating or preparing for change? As we all know, change is inevitable; it is expected in the tech industry, and stagnant organizations risk product obsolescence, low industry influence, and disengaged customers and employees.
Remember Blockbuster? At its peak, the organization had over 9,000 stores and annual revenue of $6 billion. What happened? In 2000, Netflix (a DVD mail service at the time worth about $35 million) proposed a partnership that likely would have changed the trajectory of Blockbuster. The Blockbuster leadership team failed to think forward and turned down the deal. In 2004, Blockbuster tried to pivot toward the DVD mail service model, but it was too late, and in 2010 Blockbuster declared bankruptcy. All the while, Netflix continued to grow, reaching $2.16 billion in revenue by 2010.
Blockbuster failed to anticipate, prepare for, and be open to change. Here, then, is a lesson for organizations of all sizes: change must be part of your status quo and highly anticipated by your leaders.
By creating a culture of change, you empower everyone in your organization to have their eyes open to opportunities that will help grow your business—whether small changes regarding workflow or large changes that impact how, to whom, or what you sell. Inspiration for change and “spotting where the puck is going” aren’t relegated to management to figure out. By empowering everyone to embrace opportunity (also known as change), you minimize your chances of missing your organization’s next great idea.
The Cox Enterprise story is based on change. From newspapers to radio, television, and continual digital transformation, embracing change is what took Cox from a single newspaper to the company it continues to evolve to ultimately become today.
- Identify the Why
We are all curious by nature. From a young age, we desire to understand the “why” in the world around us. As adults, our “why” questions bring us meaning, security, and confidence in the unknown.
As your organization embraces change, remember the importance of “why.” Take the time to explain why your organization is making/pursuing these changes and how these changes will impact your team and the individual. By empowering your employees with this knowledge, you give them a greater sense of control over the situation, making them more open, adaptable, and excited.
- Model Change
Change initiatives often require everyone to learn new behaviors and skills—and that includes you as a leader. As you look to empower your team, make sure you are also investing in yourself to learn how to navigate and lead effectively through change. Studies show that when senior leaders model new behaviors and skills, change initiatives are five times more likely to be effective.
- Celebrate the Small Wins
Change is exhausting and often doesn’t happen overnight. Change experts recommend breaking up your change initiatives into bite-sized goals and then deliberately celebrating the small wins as a team. Recognizing and celebrating progress will help prevent burnout in your employees, reinforce organizational alignment, and instill confidence that they are on the right path and working toward success.
Change is a constant in life. When we anticipate, understand, model, and celebrate change, we create a foundation that opens doors and sets us up for growth and success.
As a Senior Director at Cox Business, John is responsible for the overall readiness strategy for the indirect business sales channels. His team has the primary responsibility to develop, implement and sell solutions utilizing the Cox Communications network throughout the country. John has more than 25 years of experience in business management, which includes sales and leadership positions with companies such as Polycom, Sprint and EDS.