Managing Your Way Through Change In Your Organization

April 23, 2014

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I don’t care who you are, there is no such thing as a successful business entrepreneur who hasn’t hit a few road bumps in the road (sometimes they’re gigantic pot holes).   A year ago, our salon and spa company acquired another salon and over the last twelve months we’ve accomplished a lot.   Our team grew by 46%, our sales grew by 56% and we went from two locations to three.  In addition to merging the two salon cultures, we managed to plan, organize, design and build a new location and move the newly acquired team into it.    You may (or may not) be surprised to learn that designing and building out the new space was actually the easiest part of what we accomplished last year.   Merging two very different business cultures and creating one company has clearly been the hardest by far.   I thought I’d share some of my insights and lessons that I’ve learned in this blog post.
The most interesting thing I’ve learned about managing a culture shift is to closely pay attention to what’s really happening underneath all of the obvious change happening on the surface.  Every day, you have to take a pulse on your business.   You do that by being present and connected to your team, no matter how much you would rather be somewhere else!   As long as the culture you are trying to create is quickly outpacing the culture you are trying to stamp out, then you know you’re on the right track.   If the opposite is occurring, you’re in trouble.   It’s easy for things to go either way.   The hard part is that often times you can’t get a good read on your measurement.  Some days a you feel good about the energy, the conversations that are happening, and then some days, out of nowhere, things unravel and it all seems to fall apart.  It’s like a pendulum swinging both ways.   You have to really rise above it all and look down on your business from a 10,000 foot view and assess where the company’s headed.    Your company is a living breathing organism that’s changing and adapting to outside and inside influences every day.    At a 10,000 foot view, you can look back where you started and see your progress.
Regardless of what’s happening, even if you know it’s all good, managing change can be strenuous, stressful and in most cases painful both financially and emotionally.   Even when you can see that good stuff is happening and that you really are moving in the right direction, don’t be surprised when you learn that some team members don’t necessarily think so.    When you’re in the driver’s seat telling everyone, “We’re going to Disneyland!”,  believe me when I say that not everyone wants to go.  It’s just the reality of it all and it’s okay!   Not everyone will share your vision, your values, and be gung-ho about it all.   This is where it becomes your job to quickly replace those team members with others that do.  This is where trust, strong leadership, and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations becomes critical to your ability to power through it all.   Looking back, I found myself doing four different things to weather the rapid changes.   I’ve shared the first of these four below.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll share the other three.  They’ve been extremely helpful and have allowed me to stay focused, sleep easy at night, and continue to love what I do on a daily basis, even though some days are harder than others.
95_Entrepreneur-on-fire-Logo-200x200Comfort Among Other Entrepreneurs – There’s something to be said about having relationships with like-minded individuals who are share common interests and similar work environments.  In particular, I’m referring to other entrepreneurs.   Sometimes when you are going through tough situations, even though you know you’re not the only one on the planet experiencing it, it’s comforting to connect with others.   I’ve managed to surround myself with a core group of very successful, positive entrepreneurs in all different types of industries all across the country.   These are positive people in my life who lift me up, encourage me, and probably the most important thing, listen to me.    There are a few ways that I choose to connect with other entrepreneurs.      Sometimes I pick up the phone and reach out to my inner circle of trusted friends.  Other times, I might set up a coffee date and connect in person.   In other instances, I even dial into other sources to get recharged.  For example, almost every morning, the first thing I do after reading and journaling is to take my dog Harlow for a walk.   It’s about a 40 minute routine; just enough time for me to listen to one of my favorite  podcasts, Entrepreneur On Fire.  Entrepreneur On Fire is a top ranked, 7-day a week business podcast, hosted by John Lee Dumas, interviewing today’s most successful and inspiring entrepreneurs.   Utilizing this time dialed into John’s show while walking my dog in the wee hours of the morning really sets the tone for the rest of my day.  It gives me the strength and energy to meet head on, whatever challenges I may face.   All entrepreneurs share similar battles.  I know this by listening to each the guests on John’s show.  There’s a familiar pattern that emerges with each interview.   The problems are masked by different circumstances, different people, and different outcomes.   However,  they are still the same problems that entrepreneurs face daily.  I’m amazed to hear what some have accomplished, along with their stories of struggle and failure.   With a little bit of determination and grit, I’m convinced that we can all be successful too!
How about you?  What’s one thing you do to stay focused, driven and motivated to keep going?
Stay tuned for next week’s blog for my second best practice for staying focused.

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Located in Austin, Texas.

Chris Murphy