Change is tough. In the manufacturing sphere, many executives shy away from implementing change because of the unknowns that it can bring with it. In a recent article for IndustryWeek, Paul Ericksen discusses how executives should embrace change—and not just little changes, but large-scale ones.
Ericksen first addresses incremental versus step-function changes. Incremental changes are small and generally carry little risk—the author describes them as tactical. Because of these characteristics, they are less likely to have a resounding impact. Conversely, step-function changes can have a significant positive impact on a company’s financials, but this requires in-depth planning and determined implementation. Ericksen describes these changes as strategic. Executives should be aware that the bigger the change, the bigger the risk that it can introduce. Ericksen advises that lower-tier team members focus on implementing tactical changes in their day-to-day operations, while upper management carefully crafts step-function strategies.
Next, Ericksen spends some time emphasizing the importance of embracing change. In order to achieve growth, executives need to be willing to step out of their comfort zone and into areas of risk—because that is also where they will encounter reward. The author discusses three different levels of being a change agent, the leader, the lunatic, and the heretic. These terms describe different levels of embracing change within an organization and how peers typically react to each kind.
To close, Ericksen makes his recommendation for the two best change strategies that he has seen. The first is to put together a thorough plan for change and build support for it within upper management. The second is to pilot a change without telling anybody, then present the results congruently with proposing the change.
For more details, read the article in full at IndustryWeek.