Recently we were given notice by our landlord that we had 6 weeks to find a different office space as our current office was going to be needed by a company he had just purchased. The office was in a sense the hub of our company where we gathered for weekly meetings, entertained guests, worked with and trained clients and hosted meetings of change. For
several years now, we have been blessed with the opportunity to work out of this space and have truly changed the office to enable us to facilitate our business and create a warm environment for our clients to feel comfortable discussing sensitive business issues. But like many good things, our time is coming to an end in this location, and there will be a disruption.
Disruption comes in many forms in a business, it happens when we have key staff leave or die. Disruption happens when there are significant changes to our structure, our competition, our facilities or the economy. Disruption can be as a result of war, or peace, policy or focus, it can be as simple as a change in direction from emerging strategic decisions to enable our business to succeed. Whatever the cause, disruption is normal in
business. How we manage our disruption dictates how successful we will be in the future. So what is key to managing unexpected disruption?
1. Look at Disruption as an Opportunity. While disruption can seem devastating and in some cases, it very well may mean the end of your current business, when we take the point of view that disruption is a positive opportunity to create something better, the experience generally has a happy ending. So often however, we are caught up in the negative aspects of change which creates difficulties in seeing the positive. Change can and in many cases is difficult, painful, and tiring, but should you look back on the growth stages of your business
and certainly difficulty, pain and hard work were all part of those experiences. Looking at disruption as a positive opportunity instead of a negative experience, enables us as a team to move forward optimistically towards a better future.
2. Create a Plan to Manage the Disruption: Whether we are working alone or with a team, the easiest way to feel overwhelmed is to work without a plan. Regardless of whether your disruption is the result of a broken pipe in the business or the loss of your key client, taking the time to develop a plan saves time and stress in the long run. A plan typically involves creating a roadmap from where you are now to where you want to be in the future. Your plan should involve the people within your organization who are going to be directly affected
by the disruption as well as any other stakeholders who are going to be impacted as a result of your plans. By creating a plan, we reduce confusion, create strategy and allocate resources and responsibilities. A plan to deal with the disruption enables our team to be clear about what is expected of them and the timeline to achieve the desired results. This not only takes pressure off of us as leaders but engages our team which in turn reduces their stress levels in the workplace over the long run.
3. Communicate Clearly and Often. The most common complaint of employees in organizations we work with is that there is poor communication. In times of disruption we need more than ever to work on our communication skills within the company. We need to be clear about what is happening and how people, your employees and your customers are going to be affected. Whether you hold town hall meetings, department meetings or one on one discussions, getting in front of your people and working through the ramifications of disruption will be key to your ability to engage and retain your key people.
Change, especially disruptive change can be difficult to manage, however the outcomes can often be positive beyond the imagination and possibilities of your current reality. Facing disruption can often be daunting but being positive, coming up with solutions and a plan and communicating those concepts will lead to a pathway of positive change.
Dave Fuller, MBA, is an Award Winning Business Coach and the author of the books Profit Yourself Healthy and Pivotal Performance. Facing Disruption? Email email@example.com