Tweak Your Biz » Growth » Are You an Agent of Change?

Are You an Agent of Change?



How are you affecting your organisation?

Imagine you are at a networking meeting and you hear two men talking about their monumental amount of work, the lack of support from their staff, and they feel powerless to speak up and change the system.

Now, what would you think if you knew these two men were actually the owners of the very businesses they are complaining about?

In a 2009 study (The Leadership Gap) conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership, one of the top ten skills needed to be an effective leader is managing change. Many established small business owners keep their vision limited and avoid challenging their status quo.

Frankly, it is easy to get into a rut. The day-to-day operations command our attention. Did all of the invoices go out? Are we collecting money owed to us? Have I paid the bills? Oh, and do I have to check my email right now?  What meetings are on today?  Should I really hire an administrative assistant? When are taxes due? And there is that project deadline. When running a lean organization, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of tasks.

But ruts set the stage for complacency. Complacency becomes the death spiral for what used to be your dream. No one starts a business to get stuck on the mundane stuff. When we spend all of our time focused on operations, we lose sight of the business vision. The energy and enthusiasm we need to innovate internally and externally is sucked away.

How do you support yourself as a change agent for your small business?

Get out of your comfort zone. Do something you don’t normally do, even if it is unrelated to your business. Learn a language, explore a musical instrument, attend an unfamiliar networking group, hire a coach, join a mastermind group, or take a class or seminar. Looking at the world through a different lens refreshes your perspective and provides relief from stress.

Check your assumptions. It is easy to be in the mindset of “should-ing” on yourself. One of my clients found this to be a source of paralysis for her. She really thought that telling herself that she should be doing one thing or another for business development would motivate her. However, she was really accomplishing very little. After removing “should” from her vocabulary, she found her ideal customers and expanded her business. What beliefs are stopping you?

Change is a constant. How do you keep refreshed and engaged?



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The Author:

Elli St.George Godfrey guides small business owners as they expand in their own community or internationally using her 3 Keys Coaching process helps clients not only navigate growth stages. With each stage of the 3 Keys coaching process, we tackle strategic planning, goal setting, managing change, organizational development and managing the stress and feelings of overwhelm that often plague small to mid-size business owners and executives. This results in clients feeling confident in identifying and developing strategies to be more effective leaders, plan more creatively, increase revenues and overcome the fears and obstacles that interfere with building thriving small to mid-sized businesses. I am also Chief Community Manager of Kaizen Biz and Host of Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz (a chat that uses the concept of "kaizen" for continual improvement in how we think and act in business). Please visit www.abilitysuccessgrowth.com/about/ to learn more and I look forward to meeting you in a complimentary coaching session. http://www.abilitysuccessgrowth.com

Add Your Comment

  • http://www.channelship.ie/blog/ Fred

    Nice post Elli. I strongly believe that getting out of the comfort zone is probably the most important step. All I read over and over these days is that any business not ready for change or not planning to innovate will not succeed/survive. Another great tip I heard from a business owner is to buddy-up with another business owner in the same situation and once a week, they can report to each other in terms of weekly/monthly goals, tasks etc. This ways they can help each other stay in line with their goals

  • http://www.channelship.ie/blog facundo

    Very true Elli, no one goes into business to deal with the mundane stuff. It is, however very challenging not to get immersed in it, in an effort to deliver value (inefficient effort of course). I don't think it is very easy to convey to people the importance of delegating. Very probably, all of us need to experience that feeling of being overwhelmed and then go for a fresh start in which we become more practical and do only what we need to do. Good timing for this post Elli, more than one of us may re think our daily attitude for 2010!

  • http://www.channelship.ie/blog/ Fred

    Nice post Elli. I strongly believe that getting out of the comfort zone is probably the most important step.
    All I read over and over these days is that any business not ready for change or not planning to innovate will not succeed/survive. Another great tip I heard from a business owner is to buddy-up with another business owner in the same situation and once a week, they can report to each other in terms of weekly/monthly goals, tasks etc. This ways they can help each other stay in line with their goals

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Hi Eli, I am inclined to think that managing change is probably the number 1 challenge faced by small business owners today. A natural response for a great many of us is to fight change, however as you point out it is those that embrace and work with change who give themselves the very best chance of success in this environment.Great post! http://tweakyourbiz.com/growth

  • http://www.channelship.ie/blog facundo

    Very true Elli, no one goes into business to deal with the mundane stuff. It is, however very challenging not to get immersed in it, in an effort to deliver value (inefficient effort of course). I don’t think it is very easy to convey to people the importance of delegating. Very probably, all of us need to experience that feeling of being overwhelmed and then go for a fresh start in which we become more practical and do only what we need to do. Good timing for this post Elli, more than one of us may re think our daily attitude for 2010!

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

    Fred,That is a great tip! I'm a big proponent of having an accountability partner. When you are in business by yourself, it is easy to let deadlines soften and momentum can slow. Not that we mean to do that! It's a great gift when you have someone who shares your zest for success and believes in you enough to be your buddy.

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

    Facundo,2010 is just around the corner! Glad you brought up delegation! This is such an important skill and it takes great faith in yourself and who you delegate to that he/she will do the job well. You can't be everything and everywhere! Perhaps people have to start slowly. A few years ago, another coach advised to take stock of everything you do and if it is not supporting you directly adding to the bottom line, hire someone like a virtual assistant, a bookkeeper, or web support. This was the real kicker to her advice, even if it is something you enjoy. Work from a place of strength, joy, and momentum!

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

    Niall,Thanks! The recession has brought it home to many of us that change is part of the process and expending energy fighting it is a huge waste of our talents. Small businesses tend to be like the canaries in the coal mines-we experience things quickly and tend to have fewer or less robust resources so how we respond is paramount.

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Hi Eli, I am inclined to think that managing change is probably the number 1 challenge faced by small business owners today. A natural response for a great many of us is to fight change, however as you point out it is those that embrace and work with change who give themselves the very best chance of success in this environment.Great post!

    http://tweakyourbiz.com/transformingyourbusiness/2009/11/20/stumped-by-change-management-part-i/

  • http://www.channelship.ie/blog/ Fred

    Nice post Elli. I strongly believe that getting out of the comfort zone is probably the most important step. All I read over and over these days is that any business not ready for change or not planning to innovate will not succeed/survive. Another great tip I heard from a business owner is to buddy-up with another business owner in the same situation and once a week, they can report to each other in terms of weekly/monthly goals, tasks etc. This ways they can help each other stay in line with their goals

  • Anonymous

    Fred,

    That is a great tip! I’m a big proponent of having an accountability partner. When you are in business by yourself, it is easy to let deadlines soften and momentum can slow. Not that we mean to do that! It’s a great gift when you have someone who shares your zest for success and believes in you enough to be your buddy.

  • Anonymous

    Facundo,

    2010 is just around the corner! Glad you brought up delegation! This is such an important skill and it takes great faith in yourself and who you delegate to that he/she will do the job well. You can’t be everything and everywhere! Perhaps people have to start slowly. A few years ago, another coach advised to take stock of everything you do and if it is not supporting you directly adding to the bottom line, hire someone like a virtual assistant, a bookkeeper, or web support. This was the real kicker to her advice, even if it is something you enjoy. Work from a place of strength, joy, and momentum!

  • Anonymous

    Niall,

    Thanks! The recession has brought it home to many of us that change is part of the process and expending energy fighting it is a huge waste of our talents. Small businesses tend to be like the canaries in the coal mines-we experience things quickly and tend to have fewer or less robust resources so how we respond is paramount.

  • http://www.channelship.ie/blog facundo

    Very true Elli, no one goes into business to deal with the mundane stuff. It is, however very challenging not to get immersed in it, in an effort to deliver value (inefficient effort of course). I don't think it is very easy to convey to people the importance of delegating. Very probably, all of us need to experience that feeling of being overwhelmed and then go for a fresh start in which we become more practical and do only what we need to do. Good timing for this post Elli, more than one of us may re think our daily attitude for 2010!

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Hi Eli, I am inclined to think that managing change is probably the number 1 challenge faced by small business owners today. A natural response for a great many of us is to fight change, however as you point out it is those that embrace and work with change who give themselves the very best chance of success in this environment.Great post! http://tweakyourbiz.com/growth

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

    Fred,That is a great tip! I'm a big proponent of having an accountability partner. When you are in business by yourself, it is easy to let deadlines soften and momentum can slow. Not that we mean to do that! It's a great gift when you have someone who shares your zest for success and believes in you enough to be your buddy.

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

    Facundo,2010 is just around the corner! Glad you brought up delegation! This is such an important skill and it takes great faith in yourself and who you delegate to that he/she will do the job well. You can't be everything and everywhere! Perhaps people have to start slowly. A few years ago, another coach advised to take stock of everything you do and if it is not supporting you directly adding to the bottom line, hire someone like a virtual assistant, a bookkeeper, or web support. This was the real kicker to her advice, even if it is something you enjoy. Work from a place of strength, joy, and momentum!

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

    Niall,Thanks! The recession has brought it home to many of us that change is part of the process and expending energy fighting it is a huge waste of our talents. Small businesses tend to be like the canaries in the coal mines-we experience things quickly and tend to have fewer or less robust resources so how we respond is paramount.