January 19, 2018
Does It Have to Be So Hard?
Making C-Store change keeps operators busy working to grow and improve their business. They understand growth is critical and the same old things are not enough. The unspoken issue, however, is that change generates a lot of resistance and the normal day is already busy. The idea of tackling change can sometimes feel overwhelming. The idea of getting new ideas into action can just seem too hard.
Many will consider making c-store change if it does not require staff to do anything new. They seek the silver bullet of change that occurs regardless of the work from staff. Some will analyze other operations that work well. Some companies can make it look like staff perform the same tasks the same way every day without any changes. That is, they have it figured out. If you already have a c-store operation that is performing very well and there is a functioning system to keep it that way, then in theory no changes are needed. We have visited companies that seem to do everything right. They have a great brand, they make big profits, they increase sales, customer satisfaction is maxed out and employees fight hard to get a job.
Making C-Store Change Can Look Easy for Some
We know great companies when we shop there. They are polished and appear fortunate to have the time and money to make it happen. Their staff simply do their work without a lot of stress and earn big rewards. These types of companies must be eager to keep things stable and on the good path.
Facing Change – The Inverse Rule of Change Resistance
An interesting point, however, is that the many successful companies keep pushing their company, systems, and staff to change – and grow. While they do it well and appear to make it look easy, the best companies often have a new goal and plan for improvement. That is, those that appear to need to make changes the least are often the ones that seek change the most. Perhaps that is the basis for the adage ‘grow or die’. Growth mandates change. So those growing may just consider it a necessary part of normal business. Perhaps change is understood and managed just like the rest of the business.
For those that want to do better, but do not feel fully equipped to make it happen, face a tough decision. They know that changes are needed, but worry about making things worse. One big challenge is how to change and avoid creating a new problem due to team morale.
A First Step Toward Change
That is the real issue for many of us – the desire to improve, but worry that making changes may make things worse due to employee resistance. Once the change decision is made, then managing the amount of change becomes a key to success. According to Kevin Ready, Motivational Drivers are the fuel behind what team members do and why they do it. Managing the amount and pace of change is critical. Avoid having managers focus on only their own or even the company needs but consider the teams need for stability. Change creates resistance based on the desire for stability. The real, albeit temporary, loss of stability is the source of resistance. Getting the team involved in the process can help to reduce the fixation on stability and thus the resulting resistance. Addressing impact on stability with buy-in is one way to reduce the resistance to change.
The first step is to decide to change. What if, instead of starting with fixing the problem, you simply try to get some buy-in to the goal of change AND to the things that matter the most? What if the change becomes driven from those that must make the changes, with their consent and support? Making one successful step may increase the desire for the next change. With a great attitude and a little teamwork who knows – the fear of not changing may be greater than the fear of making changes to get better.
Employees who have input on changes are then more likely to buy-in to them. When they see the natural consequences of staying the same, they may start to own the need to make a change. With bottom-up changes, attitudes and performance improve and, with them, so do results. Start early and get input so you can get busy making c-store changes.
For more information on related materials read about C-Store Accountability – Do You Have to Be So Mean?