What would happen in your business if one day your managers just didn’t show up? What would their subordinates do? Well, they would probably just do what they did yesterday. And if the managers still didn’t show up the following day, the subordinates would just continue doing what they had done all along. This could go on for quite awhile, and actually, things would probably run pretty smoothly.
Until something would change.
It might be a new technology, turnover of personnel, something different in the marketplace, or a new competitor . . . it could be a lot of things. But something changes and suddenly we can’t simply continue to do what we’ve been doing. We’ve got to adapt to the change, and that’s the job of management.
It’s tempting to blame outside factors when a company doesn’t perform as it should. We say, “It’s the economy,” or “It’s the high cost of energy,” or “It’s unfair competition from China,” or we make some other excuse that our company’s poor performance is somehow not our fault. But it is our fault. As business owners and managers, it’s our job to anticipate, respond to, and adapt to change. It’s what we’re paid to do.
If we can’t compete with the Chinese on mass-produced products, maybe we change our focus to short-run, custom-made products. If the high cost of energy is hurting us, we look for conservation opportunities or introduce more energy-efficient equipment or come up with a pricing strategy to pass that cost through to our customers. The point is, it doesn’t matter whether change-induced problems are caused by external forces or not, it’s still our job as managers to solve them.
We can’t complain that it’s unfair this is happening to us and say, “Woe is us. We’re doomed!” That’s a recipe for going out of business. We need to accept change as a constant in our business lives, acknowledge our responsibility for dealing with it, and welcome it as a challenge.