We’ll Change The Rules To Suit Us – But Don’t You Dare React!

Our political system has changed a great deal since the ill-feted Athenian system of ‘democracy’ that lasted less than two generations before it was corrupted. And the change has been downhill all the way. Today’s political system resembles the dogmatic beliefs and polarized actions of opposing football fanatics more than it does a system working for the balanced advancement of the majority of society and the over-exploited term of ‘the national interest’.

This was highlighted for me recently with the performance of Australia’s answer to Prince John and The Sherriff of Nottingham – Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan – in the announcement of their so-called ‘super-profit tax’ of the mining industry. To many observers the approach of Ruddy and Swany was akin to ‘we’ll change all the rules to suit us, but don’t you dare react’.

What the?

How often do we see leaders today develop initiatives and simply announce them – independent of context and more aligned to their own agenda – and then expect unquestioned support without any clear explanation. Anyone would think politicians and bureaucrats owned the country, not were employed as servants of the ‘common-wealth’.

Any commercial or economic change requires two things.

Firstly, it requires a clear understanding (by those who must support it) of how the proposed change fits and enhances core business. Secondly, it requires a process that motivates support of its implementation. In the case of Australia, blind Freddie understands that this country’s core business is commodities – they underpin every other economic activity in our island continent of 23 million people. You make changes to the engine room of the economy very carefully. Always ensuring that it continues to contribute increasing prosperity for all.

Retail business leadership and the management of change in retail businesses are no different. Every retail leader needs to ensure that everyone from the store to the Board shares a common understanding of what is core business and what are the drivers that nurture its ongoing prosperity. Smart change management processes build from consultation on issues, needs, problems and opportunities. They gather language and motivational cues along the way.

They ensure that changes are easily comprehended as benefitting core business and leading to shared prosperity as an outcome. And even then, they embrace communication as a motivational tool. Joseph Goebbels did a better job at selling policy than his contemporaries.

Don’t fall into the same trap. Change management is an essential and unavoidable process in business. Learn from our political leaders mistakes. Do it for the right reasons, do it the right way and motivate your people to embrace it and support it for shared prosperity.