Want To Grow Your Business? It's Time To Shift Your Mindset And Embrace Change


Jacob M. EngelForbes Councils Member Forbes Coaches Council




Jacob M Engel (Yeda LLC) | CEO & Author | #1 Amazon Bestseller | Family Business & Entrepreneur Consultant | Leadership Coach. The old adage is "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But today's adage should be, "If it ain't broke, look again." The old adage referred to the notion that if things are humming along just fine on their own, why chance tinkering with them? However, today we know that oftentimes the bright, shiny light at the end of the tunnel is really the train coming at you.

Change can be your greatest tool for success. Look at the most successful companies, the greatest inventions and the most exciting innovations in human history — they're all about change. Author Stephen Covey says that almost all breakthroughs are in fact the breakwiths of old paradigms. So why do some people, especially those in leadership positions, not embrace change but oftentimes reject it or become defensive about it? Why is it that some leaders believe that everyone or mostly everyone needs to change but not themselves? And even if they do believe that some change on their part is necessary, many will resist it, be defensive when change is suggested for them or become outright angry when change is something they have to do and be held accountable for.

The Importance Of Shifting Your Mindset

I would suggest that a critical part of a leader's responsibility is not to "fear" change but rather embrace it, thrive on it, build on it and make change your friend — not your enemy. This article, by Professor Noam Wasserman, claims that most founders end up leaving their companies either by design or by request from their boards because they were not willing to adapt to change. The same skills that it takes to start a business are not the same skills needed to grow and scale a business. So is it almost a given that the founder will either leave or limit the business growth or even cause it to collapse if they are not willing or able to change? In my own work, I see this very often and it’s almost predictable that many business founders will become stuck in believing that a negative direction for the business is not their fault and instead is the fault of everyone else that things are not where they should be. As Covey states in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, unless you are willing to step apart from your paradigms or mindsets and examine them very carefully and objectively, you will never be able to see things differently. He uses the See-Do-Get model to explain that if you see things the same way, you will do things the same way and you will get the same results. And if you focus on behaviors and results, you might get minor changes, but to get real changes, you need to focus on your thinking, your mindsets and paradigms.

Oftentimes, organizations will implement new processes or new systems and believe that it will solve their problems. Of course, we need systems and processes, but that alone will only have a small effect if at all. Quantum changes, according to Covey, will only happen if we change the way we think or see things (aka paradigms or mindsets) and this starts at the top.

A Paradigm Shift In Action

Here is a great example of a paradigm shift that helped a business owner see the potential for growing his business by triple digits.

"Adam" has an educational training and software business. His business sales had stagnated over the last few years and though the business was still profitable, he believed there was a greater potential for growth but wasn’t sure how to achieve it.

By examining his paradigms, he was able to see that his greatest challenge was empowering his employees to take ownership of their results. He believed that only he as the founder could be in charge of the critical functions and tried doing everything himself.

When we created his five-year strategic plan, we identified that software services were ripe for growth along with the greatest challenge: having the right people in the right seat on the right bus. We then used various assessments to determine what type of person we'd need (including assessing why the founder needed help in scaling his business) and kept on searching until we found our perfect candidate.

We hired this very key person to be the project manager for software development and things really took off. Adam was now free to focus on the overall growth and performance of the company.

Three Strategies For Shifting Your Mindset

1. Know thyself. This quote is notoriously attributed to Benjamin Franklin, he actually said "that there are three things that are very hard; Steel, Diamonds, and knowing oneself". Regardless of its source, the sentiment of self-awareness is true for every role in an organization. Know where your strengths are and where you need help, and then hire people for their strengths to help shore up your weaknesses.

2. Create a 5-10 year "shoot for the stars land on the moon" plan. Don't be afraid to think big or have "big hairy audacious goals" (BHAGs) as Jim Collins calls them. Examine each limiting factor or fear that is holding you back.

3. Have a process. Process and systems are important to follow consistently so that things don't fall between the cracks and there is transparency and accountability across the board. Remember, you as the founder will set the tone. If you are transparent and accountable in your work, your employees will model their behavior after you. However, if you push back or become defensive, so will your employees.

In short, every organization and its leadership must continuously examine their paradigms and mindsets to ensure that they're helping the business grow and not holding it back. And then, they must have the courage to plan big and execute every day on their plan. Follow me on LinkedIn. Check out my website. Jacob M Engel (Yeda LLC) | CEO & Author | #1 Amazon Bestseller | Family Business & Entrepreneur Consultant | Leadership Coach.

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