How to integrate change into your company culture

When we anticipate, understand, model and celebrate corporate culture change, we create a foundation that opens doors and sets us up for growth and success.

Change is an inevitable and necessary part of life. When embraced, change opens doors and leads to growth and success. But embedding change as part of the corporate culture isn’t always easy.

Many people have negative associations with change and are reluctant to embrace the new and the unknown. Over the past three years, the average organization has undertaken five major change initiatives and, alarmingly, only 34% of these change initiatives have been successful.

With 75% of organizations planning to multiply the number of change initiatives they undertake over the next three years, here are four fundamentals to help you and your team successfully embrace and lead change in your organization and your sector.

1. Anticipate change

Is your organization actively anticipating or preparing for change? As we all know, change is inevitable; this is expected in the tech industry, and stagnant organizations risk product obsolescence, weak industry influence, and disengaged customers and employees.

Do you remember Blockbuster? At its peak, the organization had over 9,000 stores and annual sales of $6 billion. What happened? In 2000, Netflix (a DVD courier service at the time worth around $35 million) offered a partnership that likely would have changed Blockbuster’s trajectory. Blockbuster’s management team didn’t think ahead and turned down the deal. In 2004, Blockbuster attempted to pivot to the DVD courier service model, but it was too late. In 2010 Blockbuster declared bankruptcy. All the while, Netflix continued to grow, hitting $2.16 billion in revenue in 2010.

Blockbuster failed to anticipate, prepare and be open to change. So here’s a lesson for organizations of all sizes: change should be part of your status quo and highly anticipated by your leaders.

By creating a culture of change, you allow everyone in your organization to have their eyes open to opportunities that will help your business grow, whether it’s small workflow changes or big changes that impact how, to whom or what you sell. Inspiration for change and “seeing where the puck is going” are not relegated to management to understand. By allowing everyone to seize opportunities (also known as change), you minimize your chances of missing out on your organization’s next big idea.

The Cox Enterprise story is about change. From newspapers to radio to television and the ongoing digital transformation, embracing change is what took Cox from just a newspaper to the business it continues to evolve and eventually become today.

2. Identify the why.

We are all curious by nature. From a very young age, we want to understand the “why” in the world around us. As adults, our “why” questions bring us meaning, security, and confidence in the unknown.

As your organization embraces change, remember the importance of “why”. Take the time to explain why your organization is making/pursuing these changes and how these changes will impact your team and the individual. By equipping your employees with this knowledge, you give them a greater sense of control over the situation, making them more open, adaptable and enthusiastic.

3. Change of model.

Change initiatives often require everyone to learn new behaviors and skills, and that includes you as a leader. As you seek to empower your team, be sure to also invest in yourself to learn how to effectively navigate and lead change. Studies show that when senior leaders adopt new behaviors and skills, change initiatives are five times more likely to be effective.

4. Celebrate small wins.

Change is exhausting and often doesn’t happen overnight. Change experts recommend breaking down your change initiatives into small goals, then deliberately celebrating small wins as a team. Recognizing and celebrating progress will help prevent burnout among your employees, strengthen organizational alignment, and give them confidence that they are on the right track and working towards success.

Change is a constant in life. When we anticipate, understand, model and celebrate change, we create a foundation that opens doors and sets us up for growth and success.

As a Principal at Cox Business, John Muscarella is responsible for the overall strategy of preparing indirect commercial sales channels. His team has primary responsibility for developing, implementing and selling solutions using the Cox Communications network nationwide. John has over 25 years of business management experience, which includes sales and management positions with companies such as Polycom, Sprint and EDS.

This guest blog is part of a sponsorship by Channel Futures.