Change. Is it exciting? Unpleasant? Detrimental? Beneficial? How can Businesses harness the power of change and how can you translate these lessons into your personal life?
This week’s #USAMfgHour Twitter chat was led by Kirsten Austin of DCSC, Inc. She shared her insights on Managing Business and Personal Change.
The discussion led off with, “Without looking at Google can you tell me what a Change Agent Means?”
There seemed to be some agreement among chat participants that it can be a person within an organization. “A Change-Agent would be a person responsible for managing substantial changes in a business. Either an operational or cultural change would be our guess,” Said Mike of NJMEP and then added, “A Change-Agent is essential for an organization with its eyes set on growth or progress. Almost every NJMEP team member has a Change-Agent on their team. We have a variety of focuses so each team must strive to grow and improve. That role is essential!”
While Nigel Packer of Pelatis offered that it might be something external. “A change agent can be anything external that creates a dynamic course redirection in a business or one’s own personal life.”
Rebecca, Marketing Manager at DSI Dynamatic said, “I’ve heard it before, but I can only guess. It’s the THING that makes change happen? Dan Bigger of Custom Profile replied, “I am guessing it is the reason or cause of the change.” Then Earthling Interactive offered, “An individual (usually) that nurtures change across an organization, community, or society”
Host Austin said, A Change Agent is a person from inside or outside a company or group who helps transform itself through improvement, new ideas, better processes and additional enhancements. (Bonus question: are you a change agent?)
To which Earthling Interactive replied, “I like to think so… but sometimes change takes a long time and the successes aren’t obvious or fast enough to make me confident in claiming the mantle!”
To lead off the next discussion point Austin asked, “Why do you think change is hard for some people?”
“Some people perceive change as bad, others are comfortable always doing the same thing the same way. I used to work in a place with profound resistance to change and those were the main reasons,” said Dana Englebert, Purposeful Storyteller.
“Fear of the unknown. Not wanting to relinquish the comfort of being entrenched in reliable patterns and systems. In organizations, this mentality can be a group phenomena, which makes it especially hard to embrace change,” said Manufacturers’ News.
Ruby of Social Success Marketing said, “A habit or a system can be a trap sometimes. We easily get too comfortable fast. It takes a lot of effort to change that. What others call as stable/stability can be rut for others.”
“People love routines. Breaking free of them can be a very difficult endeavor,” said Bill Garland.
Kati McDermith offered, “Personally I am a fan of change as long as it makes good business sense, but I know many are opposed to change when it disrupts their workflow.”
NJMEP added, “We also appreciate positive, logical change. There’s nothing worse than questioning an ineffective or inefficient process and getting the answer, “We’ve always done it this way” and facing resistance to implementing a more efficient process.” Dan Bigger commented that he disliked that phrase and NJMEP replied, “As do we! It’s used far too often in the manufacturing space. (however) We have noticed more manufacturers are beginning to embrace change. Slowly but surely!”
Austin offered this answer: Neuroscience research teaches us that uncertainty registers in our brain like an error does. It needs to be corrected before we can be comfortable again. – source: @Inc – Check out this article from @scott_mautz https://buff.ly/2KsKXhs (worth the read!)
Next the discussion turned to different types of change. Austin posed the question, “Purposeful change vs. Forced change: what is the difference?”
Dan Bigger had this to say, “A huge difference. Purposeful change is something you are putting into place to correct a problem. You know it is coming and you accept it. Forced, you don’t always know why or how it happened and it is harder to accept and adapt to.”
“Forced change is often change for the sake of change. Purposeful change is often easier to digest and manage because it is needed. It is also inclusive of all taking part in that change and has more support,” said NACL.
“Purposeful is more of a decision or a situation within your control. Forced change is when it may not be your decision or brought about by things outside of your control,” said John Buglino of Optessa.
“I feel as though purposeful is more of a wanted and widely accepted form of change while forced is change with resistance from some people,” said Ben of Obsidian Manufacturing.
Dana Engelbert, Purposeful Storyteller said, “There is definite differences in motive for the source, but those affected can be resistant in either case. To me purposeful change means engaging with those most affected.”
Nigel T.Packer offered, “I have experienced enforced change a number of times. It is very liberating. Attack the change with passion and enthusiasm.”
And Jennifer Wegman had this insight, “Forced change can well force you out of your comfort zone. (Like my layoff) That can lead to purposeful change.”
“Purposeful change is change based on beliefs. Often times this can come from within an organization, without any external pressure. Forced change is usually based on rules/guidelines, and sadly it doesn’t always mean “better”, offered Brett from FreightPOP.
Host, Austin said, “When you make up your mind to make a change, that is purposeful change. It can be the most powerful way to alter your life. When circumstances (good or bad) beyond your control force a transition in your like that is a forced change.”
Next Austin asked participants to share examples of any recent changes made by their companies that had been successful overall.
Earthling Interactive said, “We experienced some dramatic forced change 3 years ago, but that put us in a position to embrace purposeful change. Some metrics indicate success, others are TBD. Timelines for assessing impact can be super hard to predict.”
Manufacturers News said, “Yes! We are always changing things up, adding new features and services. Even though we’ve been around 100+ years, the older we get, the more we have to change!”
John Buglino of Optessa said, “YES – I just posted a thread on the #Optessa profile detailing 18+ years of change…all for the better!!”
Brett from FreightPOP, “Yes! We are always adapting and adding new features to our software, and recently we have been focusing on the capacity and carrier problems that are affecting shippers and the global supply chain. We do whatever we can to make our clients’ lives easier!”
Felix of Nater Associates said, “YES! The integration of my organizational support model with my violence interdiction system involves the Client organization in understanding their posture and how to collectively contribute to Robust, Agile Proactive prevention.”
NACL, “YES! We’ve expanded our lab to include IR coatings, we’ve brought on new designers, plus a pretty cool lady who jumps on twitter for us from time to time (aka me…Kelley)! We’re able to better serve our customers and have fun doing it!”
Host Austin of DCSC said, “Our company continues to add new manufacturing, distribution and shipping features and functionality in our software that helps our clients stay competitive. Many of these features are suggested by our clients as well as integrating shipping service partners.”
The discussion concluded with Austin asking, “Have you made any personal changes or had any forced upon you that ended up good?”
Jennifer Wegman, “Being laid off was actually one of the best forced changes in my life. While I miss running this chat, I was able to move forward in unexpected ways. I’m just glad I can keep in touch with everyone.”
NJMEP, “Over the past 2 years we’ve completely changed the way we handle marketing and outreach. Focusing on quality, meaningful engagements rather than volume led to more substantial, trans-formative work with clients. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it!”
Kati McDermith of MNI replied, “I am with @NJMEP on this. This year we really started focusing on brand awareness and getting louder I think (for a lack of a better term). At least that is what I am trying to do ;)”
Dan Bigger, “Plenty. I just switched jobs, industries, and relocated. Forced, I was in a toxic environment that I had to get out of and did. That has turned out fantastically. Change is good once you accept it and seek it. It’s all about perspective.”
JD at Cleveland Deburring, said “Yes and yes. The only constant in life is change.”
John Buglino, “Changing my role & company. Sometimes it is better to part ways than force the partnership.”
Obsidian, “Changed industry I worked in and it’s worked out well! Plus moving, getting my first puppy and some other changes have all turned out well in my personal life. Just having faith that the end result will work itself out in a positive is important in any change!
DSI said, “I had to make some health changes somewhat immediately. Dairy had to be removed completely. That’s not good as I live in the Dairy State, but I feel better, so I’ll live without it.”
“I wanted to give away my philosophy to help others start from scratch or improve their positions. No better feeling than getting praise from a pro bono relationship,” said Felix Nater of Nater Associates.
NACL said, “Where to begin? I got married this month, this has been a pretty big change! Plus I’m almost done with grad school. Forced change: spicy food, but man do I love it now!”
Host Austin shared, “In 2017 my Mother passed suddenly, I divorced after 23 years of marriage and suffered additional losses. I’m here to tell you I survived and grew both personally and professionally.” Earthling Interactive responded, “Thank you for sharing that with us. It is powerful to hear someone’s story and watch them grow and thrive. You deserve all the joy and energy you’ve welcomed into your life!” to which Austin replied, “My dog Walker even died that year. I was like “What the hey! Anything else?” But I learned about time management, grief, friendships, delegating etc. etc.”
Anyone who champions U.S. manufacturing can join in on a new conversation each week on Twitter using the hashtag #USAMfgHour. The chat starts at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern. Share positive blog posts, helpful articles, news, important information, accomplishments, events, and more with other manufacturers and supporters from throughout the country. Are you interested in hosting a #USAMfgHour chat? Contact organizers @DanBiggerUsaMfg, @DCSCinc, @SocialSMktg and @Radwell_Intl