The Tao of Change

The Four Elements of Thoughtful Business Disruption
By Courtney Feider

The concept and the urgency of change is everywhere. For the past decade or so, we've been gradually subscribing to it as a culture—in the realms of diet, alternative medicine, meditation, mindfulness.  

Some of the most popular consumer brands are being called out with pretty harsh criticism.  Amazon has been charged with difficult working conditions, grueling performance reviews, and poor treatment of women and those with medical needs. Target is settling a multi-million dollar suit brought against it for having unfair employment assessments that screened for gender, race, and violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.  

Transition and change management are not only a progressive necessity for companies that don't want to be irrelevant, but also patch plans and life rafts for corporations that are being called out for their lack of human qualities. We're seeing a merge of "personal development" and "professional humanization,” and the keys to this shift are elusive to a large majority of traditional modern businesses.   

Here are the four disruption elements that every company can be practicing to proactively avoid getting caught up in a contemporary scandal.  

Start at the Top
The most progressive leaders are those who are taking the time and expense to analyze their culture from the top down, and to disseminate change and development through middle management, teams, and then to the marketplace.   

Address the Issues
Go slow to go fast. If you go to market with cultural issues in your system, the marketplace will reject you. Severely. And very publicly. Think I'm over-reacting? Check out some of the comments in response to the Amazon story in the New York Times. People were pitching their Kindles and unsubscribing from Amazon Prime, and yelling about it. Loudly.  

Support Emerging Talent
Supporting staff with a "Great job, man!" and a gift card to the local steakhouse after they have chipped away at a company change for months is so 20 years ago. Emerging talent support looks like Eastern medicine. It doesn't cure an illness after it gets painful. Instead it builds a practice of supporting positive habits, and team members meet regularly with leaders about their wellbeing and sense of balance.  

Start Today
No matter where you are on the spectrum, it's important to start on the path of purposeful business disruption and transition management today. Change management is the new PR. You can't wait until the crisis occurs to fix it.  But if you already have, make sure you're working on real hat-in-hand modifications, not "spin".  If you don't own your story of change, someone else is guaranteed to.  
 
In implementing these four elements, you will be able to set up a system for support, development, and leadership growth for the greatest talent on your team. This is an incredibly wise investment of time, capital, and goodwill. 

The hallmark of purposeful disruptors is this: they love to interrupt, but they choose grace. They love to design something new and bring it to fruition. We're in the midst of a modern renaissance.  And everything is about to change.