Managers should ask themselves some basic questions before brainstorming ideas for new projects. Industry heuristics and tradition can often stand in the way of adaptation. Managers must be able to go back to square one, start from scratch, and ask fundamental questions such as: “Specifically, why are we in business?” and“Exactly why have we always done things the way we do them?” Innovative managers must be able to answer these questions honestly and intelligently to see the results they desire. Basic assumptions and things “taken for granted” must fall by the wayside.
Successful managers should think big. A powerful change strategy must be thorough and complete. Adaptation isn’t about making tiny improvements here and there, but rather setting a business up to compete both today and tomorrow. While not every business requires big change, dramatic changes are often implemented by companies that are struggling mightily, companies that are in pending trouble, or businesses that are industry leaders aiming to shake out the weak hands.
Radical changes are often the hardest to accept. For example, when online media burst onto the scenes in a major way, many traditional print publications were slow to adapt, and now struggle to keep their doors open. The companies that recognized the massive shifts in the way media was being consumed were first to market and enjoy continued success today. Managers must recognize when fundamental shifts have occurred, and act accordingly.
Unfortunately, all too many businesses are not process oriented. Managers focus on high-level ideas such as the people they hire, the jobs they perform, and their respective company’s traditional way of doing things. However, if a manager wishes to successfully implement change, he must be able to break projects down into their smallest factors. Without a process-oriented strategy, the best laid plans can go to waste. By examining the process as a whole, departments can be combined, money can be saved, and time can be reallocated to more appropriate tasks.