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November 2012

Being the Best

What kind of business manager or owner are you?

No doubt you want to be the best.

Light 000011731675XSmallOf course – in this instance – being ‘the best’ does not mean being Number 1 or Top Dog. The key word here is actually ‘be’ - something you cannot avoid doing. ‘Best’ is simply a category of being. Thus it is something that anyone can aspire to – and attain. And you wouldn’t aspire to anything less, would you? You wouldn’t be who you are or where you are if you didn’t.

But how do you go about becoming the best?

Well, you cannot possibly go wrong if you adopt this approach. “As a business owner I have an obligation to create an environment where every person in our company grows as a human being and develops more of their potential so they can truly become all God meant them to become.” (Bob Proctor.)

You see, whether you are an owner or manager, you are responsible for other people and the quality of the work they produce. Consequently it seems to me to be a no-brainer that the more you enable people to grow and develop more of their full potential as human beings, the more successful they will be and consequently the more successful you will be. This is the ultimate win/win recipe.   

Of course the corollary is that if you don’t adopt this approach you will never achieve everything that is possible. Ironically, that means you will never fulfil your own potential either.

It is simple. To be the best you have to bring out the best of your people. But of course, you are already doing that. Aren’t you?

Managing change? Beware the preposition!

I have just returned from Johannesburg where I had the privilege and pleasure of attending and addressing the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) Africa region conference. My thanks to Anna-lise, Marion and all the rest of the committee for all their hard work in putting on yet another successful conference, as well as their kindness, warmth and hospitality.  

Enforced change 000001003960XSmallUnfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend all the sessions, but I certainly heard a number of worthwhile speakers and a lot of interesting ideas and I am grateful for the lessons learned. However, I remain concerned that there is still an over-arching theme that change is something that you do to people rather than with people.

Perhaps it is just me and I am being hyper-sensitive to something that is very dear to me, but so much of the discussion revolved around what you do to manage people more effectively to instigate and implement change.  Of course this is entirely understandable when, by definition, change management deals with the people side of change. Yet there is a danger in this too because, in reality, all management is about overseeing change effectively – particularly in this day and age when change is ubiquitous.

It is, of course, this all-pervasiveness of change that has made “change management” such an important term in the business lexicon. And there is nothing wrong with that. In fact it is essential. The issue is that its very nature means that you as a business leader have to rely more on people for your success. And that is something you cannot do if you persist with the old attitudes towards managing and continue to see people as a resource that will do what you tell them simply because you told them.

Unsurprisingly change is an integral part of change. And so you have to recognise that, when dealing with change, you also need to change the way you manage. After all, organisational change is nothing more than the behavioural change of a collective of individuals.  Thus you need to recognise that organisational change takes place one person at a time! Consequently you can only effect it when individuals embrace the need to change themselves and encourage their colleagues to do the same. When you work with them to do this you will be far more likely to succeed than if you persist with traditional “command and control” approaches and methods that try to impose change on people. Commanding may compel compliance, but it will not elicit employee engagement and effective change demands engagement.

So to deliver successful change in your organisation you need a more personal approach and to be very alert to what preposition you associate with, and attach to, it.