The Speed of Change. Buckle up.

We have all heard the phrase “the only guarantees in life are Death and Taxes”. I would argue that “Change” should be added to that list.
Most people see change as an unwelcomed event and resist.They understand their job, its routines, expectations, and outcomes. “I come into work, I do ‘X’ and I go home”. No surprises. It all gets comfortable, and its predictability creates a feeling of security for your employees.
So, when changes are needed to “X, Y and Z” (or even just “X”), your employees become nervous. Change removes the feeling of security and creates one of insecurity. This hesitancy is why it can be so difficult to grow. 
How can you help people see change as a positive thing?Develop a culture in your company that thrives on change, that embraces new ways of getting the job done.
Change is happeningat an exponential rate that continues to compress time. Think about the technology changes in the span of a third generational business:
1970 – Business founded by G1 and first child born (G2)
            Business tools: Typewriter, carbon paper, yellow pages and something called a fax machine
1992 – First G2 child graduated college, wants to join the business and has new ideas
            Business tools: Xerox machine, PCs, email and flip phone
2009 – G2 is now leading the company and their children (G3) growing up with mobile devices
             Business tools: iPhones and Androids are replacing Blackberrys; LinkedIn & Facebook launch
2022 – G2 is starting succession plan; G3 is driving sales and innovation
             Business tools: 5G, Zoom, apps and the cloud
Because an organization’s adoption of technology is so much slower than the rate of its development you can see how the next generation may want to come in and start making all kinds of changes to bring the company up to speed.
If ideas of change are accepted, it could feel like a cataclysmic event – where something happens that drives fast adoption of technology, and the company takes a GIANT step forward.
If these ideas are not accepted, it can lead to disruption, disagreements, and delays.  It can also drive a big wedge in between the generations on how to best take the company forward and continue its growth.
Technology is one way that clearly demonstrates the speed of change and how it can create a gap between generations in family business.  As the world is forever evolving around us, we must remember to embrace change or eventually we too will become obsolete. 
The more comfortable you can be with change, the quicker you can adapt, the faster you will be able to build a sustainable company and generational legacy.
Buckle up. Being left behind is not option.

Matthew is a Senior Business Advisor at Compass Point Consulting and provides hands-on consulting & coaching to help family businesses close performance gaps; give owners practical, actionable tools that drive growth; deliver training to develop leaders and position the business for successful ownership transition - all on their terms.

@2019 Compass Point LLC - All rights reserved