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The Power of Internal Motivation to effect Business Growth

 

In an episode of the animated TV show Teen Titans, two teen
superheroes wonder how they can change the TV channel without
the remote, until one of their fellow titans shouts: "Simple.
You just get up and change the channel."

Change in business is rarely so easy. And to an entrepreneur
whose plans are blocked by employees who won't modify their
mindsets, it can seem almost impossible. But changing people's
attitudes and values are frequently required for sweeping
organizational change, such as switching a company's business
model or moving from a 'seat of the pants' enterprise to one run
by more formal systems.

Fortunately, many entrepreneurs have been there before, so the
process of accomplishing change by changing people's minds is
now well-understood. A four-step process based on research by
consulting firm McKinsey & Co will help you understand this
better.

1) Convince people of the need for change.

Assume you'll face obstacles, and find out what's behind the
resistance. Are they averse to risk? Do they feel their jobs
will be threatened? Are they just unconvinced there's a need for
change? Objective data can soothe fears. When employees see the
logic of your actions, they will become willing to try new
procedures.

2) Recognize and reward the behavior you want.

On the other side, punish – or at least don't reward –
undesirable behavior. There are many ways to do this, from
changing bonus structures to instituting new employee awards
tailored to your new goals. Don't assume money is the only –
or best – motivator. Financial rewards can be seen as buying
cooperation, or some form of bribery. Non-financial rewards can
be more effective.

3) Provide role models for change.

The way, employees can see someone they admire engaging in the
desired behavior. Don't expect your people to follow someone
else. The leaders of the change effort should not be external
consultants but the senior leaders in the organization
themselves. They should be the ones out front, teaching, leading
and facilitating.

4) Make sure your people have the necessary skills to implement
change.

Learning the new skills required for major organizational change
is likely to be different from the ordinary training project. You
have to get people to un-learn they old behavior and then learn
new behavior.

Reluctant students can block learning, as well, of course. You
can increase their willingness by modifying the environment in
which they learn, but don't just spruce up the company
classroom. Instead, apply the polish to your products, services
and overall company image – especially as viewed by your
employees. When workers see change in these important elements,
they realize that they will have to change, too, and they'll be
more agreeable to acquiring new skills.

While you're changing people's mindsets, don't neglect your own.
Business change is hardly ever as easy as surfing to a new TV
channel, and it's always hard right after you've gone through
change. The bad news is, you might be successful. That's when
you get into trouble, because the biggest task is maintaining
momentum. Change isn't a event; it's a process.


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