Exec Coach

Are you open to change, or would you feel more comfortable just sitting on your hands?

You may think the headline is a rather derogatory statement, but it reflects a mood, or negative attitude, that can make it very difficult for a business to progress and grow. Making significant changes in any business can be unsettling. However, those changes may be necessary to grasp opportunities and make them reality.

A quote that’s so very simple and true…

“If you do things the same way you’ve always done them, you’ll get the same outcomes you always have. In order to change your outcomes, you’ve got to do things differently.”

Progressive businesses always come out ahead and part of their trait is a willingness to make the necessary changes right across the organisation, if it is planned and leads to further growth. The SME sector is the growth engine of the UK economy and its confidence is continually reflected in UK GDP figures. When confidence is high, GDP figures reflect that positivity. However, changes aren’t always fuelled by monetary injection relating to expenditure and investment, they are also reflected in the collective attitude and mentality of the business owners and their staff.

A recent YouGov survey highlighted some key statistical and operational strengths that identified progressive businesses against those that are less so. Typically, being open to change or, at the very least, the willingness to make incremental improvements by continually monitoring performance were key differentiators that identified the wheat from the chaff. Generally those that demonstrated progression were more flexible and open to new ideas.

If it’s only the most progressive businesses that come out ahead, what differentiates them from the rest?

The YouGov survey highlighted some key statistical and operational traits of progressive organisations against those that are less than progressive. It highlighted how growing businesses openly embrace change and new ideas in pursuit of growth, and not necessarily changes that come with a cost…

  • 61% of business thought that customer satisfaction was one of the most important factors in their success
  • 56% of business owners said having engaged and loyal employees made a difference to whether a business was progressive or not
  • Progressive businesses are four times more likely to have a flexible and collaborative working culture
  • Progressive businesses are two times more likely to use efficient systems and technology
  • 51% of those in progressive businesses think their working environment is sociable
  • 47% rate having efficient systems and processes as key to being classed as progressive
  • 50% of employees within progressive businesses think they share with the company a vision for growth
  • 42% use technology to collaborate and stay responsive

The survey also compared its findings to businesses that hadn’t progressed. This was probably more powerful in reflecting just how differing attitudes and openness to change can be attributed to business performance.

  • 50% think lack of employee engagement was a factor in preventing their company from becoming progressive
  • Non-progressive company employees describe work culture as 34% slow, 32% inflexible, 29% restrictive
  • 47% describe their company’s leadership as ‘old fashioned’ or restrictive
  • Non-progressive businesses are more likely to have had a decrease in revenue in the last 3 years
  • Only 8% of employees in non-progressive companies think they are focused on achieving growth
  • Only 7% have unified communications and processes

If you look at the non-progressive business findings, it demonstrates many factors relating to a lack in willingness to make changes. These all too often fail as they have that tendency to stand still and not grasp opportunity. They lose focus because they need staff to be fully engaged rather than having little understanding around the plans for the business.

Although my coaching methods focus on the fundamentals in business including finances, systems and processes, operations, marketing and sales, I also work with business owners to empower them to make changes where necessary, sometimes taking away the fear that gets in the way of change. Very often this is to make cultural changes in the business and personal changes in how the owner functions within the business. This doesn’t have to be something to fear. If the fear is taken away and replaced with a greater understanding and a clearer road map to success, it is something that a business owner can truly embrace and thrive in.

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