“Another system? It’s all too hard!”
Are you standing in the way of your own success?
Two years ago, we weren’t facing many of today’s supply chain problems. Now, every passing quarter is presenting new challenges. Welcome to the ‘new normal’.
Q: Are you still doing the same things today that you were doing two years ago?
You can’t solve today’s problems, let alone tomorrow’s, by doing what you did yesterday, with yesterday’s tools.
Q: Are you standing in the way of your own success?
“It’s too expensive to change.”
“To change will take too long. It’s too distracting, and I’ve got too much on, anyway.”
“What I’m doing/using works. Why do I need to change it?”
These are the common responses to anything. From replacing your laptop, upgrading your car, or switching from apple to android.
Why the resistance to change for some things, but acceptance to change for others?
It depends on our simple, internal personal cost-benefit calculator.
An example. Pretend you receive a letter from the government tax office. They request your bank details; “…so we can deduct $1,000 a month for 20 years to fund your retirement.”
You’d resist! You’re already paying your taxes. This sudden change to take $1,000 each month is a big change that will impact your life today.
Change is hard when we focus on what we have to give up, overlooking what we have to gain.
Now let’s change a few words. Change ‘tax’ to ‘lottery’ and ‘deduct’ to ‘deposit’.
Would you resist that change? I thought not. But it’s also a big, ongoing change that will impact your life. And that’s the reason you’d resist the tax office request.
If it’s something we can see a quick personal benefit in, the equation switches. Change is easy when we focus on what we gain and overlook what we’d have to give up.
So, why’s our default setting to resist change?
There hasn’t been a WMS implementation customer that hasn’t had to overcome resistance to change. Someone somewhere in the organisation has pushed back.
Why? (…apart from cost, which is part of implementing anything).
3 key reasons people resist change
1) What’s in it for me? (Change is not rewarded)
Management craves guidance. A reward structure gives that guidance. Short term Management actions that increase revenue or decrease costs earn a reward. A WMS implementation delivers both, but not always within the short term.
SOLUTION: Rewarding medium- and long-term action encourages investment in future growth.
2) Knowledge is power, and to change is to lose that power
If a change challenges someone’s role, their resistance is certain. If a role is the single point of knowledge, they have power. If a new WMS removes the single point of knowledge, the power falls and along with the value of that role.
SOLUTION: Adopt a change strategy to focus on the people over the system and the process. If you can’t win over the people, you can’t change the system or the process.
3) Poor communication
Nature abhors a vacuum. When people are not clear on the what, when, how and why of the changes, fear of their own failure steps in. Resistance grows.
SOLUTION: Explain the change but build trust and confidence in the change by listening to the team’s concerns. Remember, you’ve two ears and one mouth for a reason. Communicate with that ratio in mind.
Each of these three reasons share the common theme of ‘change is hard’. People can’t see past what they must give up. Change is easy when the equation switches. When what's to gain is greater than what's lost, resistance becomes assistance.
Change is shaking up and down the length of the supply chain. You can’t afford to stand still when change is defining the ‘new normal’.
Change is resisted when you dwell on what's lost over what's gained.
Change doesn’t have to be hard. You can rearrange the ‘change equation’ to make it easy. Are you changing your ways of working, or are you standing in the way of your own success?
If you want to succeed tomorrow, you must change today.