Professional Jeweler Archive: Change for the Better

March 2002

Managing/People


Change for the Better

Keep your team energized and focused during uncertain economic times


Recession. Reduced store traffic. Downsizing. Welcome to today’s business reality. As retailers struggle to gain market share during this time of economic instability, many must look for creative ways to meet their objectives. In the process of enacting monumental changes, however, many leaders forget to consider their employees’ reactions to the business shift. This oversight can lead to a dramatic drop in employee productivity.

When companies shift gears, employees are fearful, wondering how the changes will affect them, whether their jobs are safe or what will happen to their families as a result of a job change or loss. As a business owner or manager, you are responsible for easing those fears. When you enable your team to maintain enthusiasm and focus, your company will be better able to withstand any economic fluctuations that come.

Discover Growth Opportunities

When a business change occurs, people naturally want to focus on the event – the negative aspects more than the positive ones. They play out various scenarios over and over and are unable to let go of apprehension, fear and uncertainty. You must help them stay on track.

Think of the challenges you face. Are profits down? Are layoffs imminent? Has customer demand plummeted? Now change the focus. What if you reorganized, introduced a new product, allocated money differently or changed your marketing? The more you rally the troops to see the challenges in a new light, the more opportunities for growth your team will uncover.

Minimize Professional and Personal Stress

People are so busy worrying they’re unable to produce any meaningful work. Help your employees see the good that’s going on around them.

Allow employees to take time for themselves. This isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. While making ends meet and business responsibilities are indeed vital, enjoying life and living with passion are equally important. Encourage employees to slow down and enjoy what’s in front of them at home and work. Fulfillment comes when people feel a balance in their lives. As long as they know the new business direction won’t dominate their lives, their anxiety will diminish and productivity will improve.

Let Employees Lead Your Company

The most effective action during any challenge is making changes. Unfortunately, when the outlook is uncertain, change is the last thing people want. However, change forces you and your organization to grow. Your employees may not like it when it’s happening, yet history shows high-achieving organizations and people are those who learn to embrace change.

As a group, sit down and reevaluate the company’s goals. The objectives that were appropriate six months ago may no longer be priorities. With your team, agree on what the company needs to accomplish now and how each person and department intends to contribute. This new direction and resolve will unite your employees to pursue a greater purpose and reach new levels of success. To achieve these new objectives, encourage your team to make a “have to have it, can’t live without it” proposition, such as “The only option is success.” When the members of your team see the revised big picture and how they are vital to making it happen, they will regain their enthusiasm to contribute to the goal.

– Joyce Weiss

Joyce Weiss, known as the Corporate Energizer,® is a corporate speaker and coach and the author of Full Speed Ahead: Become Driven by Change and Take the Ride of Your Life! For a free report on more ways to energize your team, call her at (800) 713-1926.

Copyright © 2002 by Bond Communications