Grow with Grunder: 3 tips for making changes at your company

October 1, 2021 -  By

Change can be difficult, and it can be scary, especially to those of us who are used to a certain way of doing things. No matter what the change is, as a leader, you know you’ll encounter resistance to big changes. Sometimes, just knowing you’ll have to face that resistance is enough to stop the change in its tracks.

(Photo: gguy44 / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

(Photo: gguy44 / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Other times, we as leaders are the ones resistant to the change. As someone who didn’t grow up with technology like we have now, I was nervous and hesitant to get rid of the paper processes that had worked for us at Grunder Landscaping Co. (GLC) for years. When members of my team told me that technology could make all of our jobs easier, I believed them, but I also didn’t necessarily want to give up the old way of doing things.

I delayed us fully embracing technology for too long, and I can see now that it held us back. Resistance to change is counterproductive. It makes changes take longer to implement, and it delays the improvements those changes would bring.

There are semester-long courses in business schools about managing organizational change and the pitfalls and personalities you must navigate to do it effectively. The gist is this: People are inherently resistant to change and disruption. It makes us uncomfortable. In your organization, the discomfort presents itself as team members dragging their feet to implement the change, openly complaining about new processes or reverting back to the old way of doing things.

To overcome the resistance and successfully implement change at Grunder Landscaping Co., we’ve found that three tactics help our team get on board:

1. Tell them what’s in it for them.

Put yourself in your team’s shoes: How will this change impact them positively? What pain points do they have that this would solve? By spelling out how a change will make their jobs easier, improve our profitability and, therefore, their bonuses, or eliminate a problem that causes them headaches, we are able to get the team more excited.

2. Teach them the new way.

Sometimes resistance occurs because your team isn’t sure how to use the new tool or system. Train your team on the change and show them what you want them to do. If they don’t know the right way, they can’t possibly do it the right way.

3. Report back on progress.

We share metrics with our team and have quarterly all-team meetings to give updates on the big initiatives the company is working on. Our team is informed, they see where we’re headed and we reinforce how important their role is for the changes we’ve made and the progress we’ve seen since.

We’ve all heard the saying, “The only thing constant in life is change.” It’s true. To stay ahead, we must be constantly changing and improving our businesses or we lose our edge and slowly become a company that people don’t want to work with or for.

We’ll talk about all the changes we’ve made at GLC and share tips and tactics for implementing change at GROW! 2022 in Nashville, Tenn., Feb 23-25. In fact, we’ll have a breakout session specifically dedicated to implementing changes during this year’s conference. Early-bird registration is open now, but the price will go up by $200 on Nov. 2.

Marty Grunder

About the Author:

Marty Grunder is president and CEO of Grunder Landscaping Co. and The Grow Group, based in Dayton, Ohio.

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