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The Force Factors of Change (Part 1)

The typical human reaction to change is to resist. We all operate within our own comfort zone, sometimes without recognizing that there are many force factors, many of which are beyond our control, pushing us to change. If we resist change, especially beneficial change, we will damage our organization, and if we refuse to recognize, confront and deal with potentially detrimental change, this also will damage our organization.


In this and in subsequent articles in upcoming issues of this magazine, we’ll examine some of the factors that force us to consider, and, more properly, deal with and manage change. We’ll also see some processes and types of change, and end with some various views of change.


Competition


One basic truth is “No competition, no need to change.” Another basic truth is that as nature abhors a vacuum, the marketplace abhors a lack of competition. If the competition isn’t out there, they will be before you know it.


Economic Changes in the Marketplace


Interest rates, trade deficits, NAFTA and import/export rules are just some of many factors beyond our control. Nevertheless, we’ve got to be cognizant of those that will impact us and our operation. We must develop and, when necessary, implement contingency plans so that we can minimize the impact of these changes—or, better still, capitalize on them.


The Need for Cost Control and Savings


Although inflation is at or near historical lows, cost control is a must. My own guideline is “Austerity in times of prosperity.” It’s always easy to focus on costs when we’re in trouble. The real key is to keep a focus on them at all times.


The Need for Improved Efficiency


There is no perfect solution, process, product or program. As soon as something is put in place, the first thing we must do is ask how it can be changed so as to improve our efficiency and, therefore, our performance.


Customer Demands for Quality


Over the past 25 years, we’ve all become accustomed to higher quality products, such as automobiles automobiles that will easily top 100,000 miles, computers that are faster, more powerful, smaller and cheaper; telephones almost too small to hold that do everything but tuck us in bed. Why, then, are we surprised when our customers expect from us greater quality, at an equal if not lesser price?


That is the reality of the marketplace that you and I have created, and we must respond to it in a positive way.


About the Author

L. Douglas Mault is president of the Executive Advisory Institute, Yakima, Wash. He is a consunltant and trainer who specializes in working with the owners and/or senior managers of construction-relatec companies. (See his ad on page 67.)

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