Business Magazine

How Entrepreneurs Get Out Of Their Comfort Zone

Posted on the 11 January 2014 by Martin Zwilling @StartupPro

comfort-zoneChange is about the only thing constant in the world of startups. Despite their own focus on changing the world, they often forget that they too have to change rapidly and often as the market evolves. Too many find that out too late, and are left chasing a rabbit that is long gone.

The solution is to establish and maintain a culture and processes that don’t view change as a discrete event to be spotted and managed, but as an ongoing opportunity to improve competitiveness. Chris Musselwhite and Tammie Plouffe, in an HBR article a couple of years ago on change readiness for large companies, define it as “the ability to continuously initiate and respond to change in ways that create advantage, minimize risk, and sustain performance.”

Since the startup environment is usually more volatile, the challenge there in balancing advantage, risk, and performance, is more critical than in big companies. The following initiatives that Chris and Tammie define for large companies apply just as directly to startups:

  1. Improve change awareness. How good are you and everyone on your team at proactively scanning the environment for opportunities, emerging trends, and customer feedback? This contextual focus is critical to innovation and survival – the right product at the right time.

  2. Increase change agility. Change agility represents a startup’s ability to immediately and effectively engage everyone in pending changes and innovations. It starts at the top with the founder and CEO, but has to extend quickly to the bottom of the organization. This requires leadership, teamwork, and trust at all levels.

  3. Expedite change reaction. This is the ability to appropriately analyze problems, assess risks, and take responsibility for problem-dictated and market-dictated changes, while still sustaining the day-to-day business activities. It’s called the management of unplanned changes, or how well your startup reacts to crises.

  4. Implement change mechanisms. Every organization needs to have specific mechanisms in place to facilitate change, including regular effective communication, reward systems that reinforce desired change behavior, and accountability for results. These won’t work in an autocratic or dysfunctional management environment.

  5. Build a change readiness culture. Change readiness is hard work, and requires creativity sometimes in conflict with task orientation. People have to have the right attitude, and make the choice from the beginning to be ready to change at any time. They need a sense of urgency to handle change, and confidence in their leaders.

  6. Imbue customer change focus. The more everyone in the startup is obsessed with satisfying customer needs and providing better customer service, the more effective the startup will be in adapting to change. Provide direct customer contact to everyone, as well as training.

Experts say that we live in a world where the pace of change is accelerating at the fastest rate in recorded history. On the other hand, change management practices seem to be changing very slowly, resulting in a 70% failure rate of change initiatives. Failure rates this high demand a new mindset and startups are the logical place for this to happen.

For starters, the whole team needs to be constantly trained and encouraged to develop their skills. Relevant skills include continuous improvement of existing methods, processes and devices against a set of quality metrics. The ultimate skills, which lead to innovation and totally new processes, usually come from experimentation and special studies.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • When You’re Fueled by Fat, Traveling is a Relative Breeze

    When You’re Fueled Fat, Traveling Relative Breeze

    Setting off on a journey, for most carb-eating people, usually means planning snacks for the trip, being sure to have something to munch on hand. When fueled... Read more

    7 hours, 35 minutes ago by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • It’s Time to ShiftShiftShift. Right Now.

    It’s Time ShiftShiftShift. Right Now.

    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." ― Galileo... Read more

    8 hours, 41 minutes ago by   Berijoy
    CREATIVITY, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Unito Review: An Excellent Synchronization Platform for Your Project Management

    Unito Review: Excellent Synchronization Platform Your Project Management

    Project management tools play a vital role in the company’s growth and success. There is a number of employees in any organization, everybody works differently... Read more

    8 hours, 48 minutes ago by   Seogdk
    MARKETING & ADVERTISING, SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Stronger

    Stronger

    Brand trips are one of the coolest parts of blogging... but can also prove to be one of the most stressful. You know you will be photographed the entire time... Read more

    9 hours, 10 minutes ago by   Wardrobeoxygen
    FASHION, SELF EXPRESSION, SHOPPING
  • Purposeful Abandonment for Tomorrow’s Event Success

    Determine When to Let Go, and When to Tackle New Challenges You seldom hear a management guru advocating that you give up, but that's essentially what Peter... Read more

    9 hours, 11 minutes ago by   Marketingtango
    BUSINESS, MARKETING & ADVERTISING
  • Northern Thailand: The Best of Lanna

    Northern Thailand: Best Lanna

    To date, through 4 separate road trips in Northern Thailand, we have now covered all 9 provinces, and have put together a simple road... Read more

    9 hours, 20 minutes ago by   Allanmwilson
    DESTINATIONS, EXPAT, TRAVEL
  • Telling Your Kids They Are Smart: It's The Kiss Of Death!

    What the hell is this woman talking about? What do you mean, don't tell my kid that he/she isn't smart? If I don't say that, they will think I think that... Read more

    9 hours, 32 minutes ago by   Joanigeltman
    FAMILY, PARENTING

Magazines