All to often individuals with creative minds, lofty ideas, and/or spectacular concepts set off on the entrepreneurial journey. As many of us have found out, through the testing of our will and determination, moving from the dreamy state of a phenomenal idea to systematically delivering that unique product or service has twists and turns that are unimaginable.
To those that have never dared to say, "I've got a great idea and the world is waiting for me to put it out there!" this article won't make much sense however for the larger percentage of the SCORE audience it'll seem as though you're feeling my toes in your shoes!
For those that have progressed from the "..I've got a great idea" to realizing the success of a structured business have realized it's not the idea that brought the success, but the 'people' you were able to bring along the journey that made the business successful.
The Change Journey
Today, business industries across the US and around the globe recognize that journey as the “Change Journey." This speaks more of the entrepreneur's, startup's, small business’, or maturing business' ability to change (e.g. adjust) to various factors or trends that would increase risks and prevent the individual or team from achieving what they set out to do.
Moreover, although there are many experts that lay claim to showing you exactly how to go from idea to fortune 100 company status (all of which 'might be true), there is one key factor every entrepreneur, small business owner, or multi-billion dollar company have in common.
When asked "what is the greatest commodity your company has", the answers vary depending on the phase of the journey the company happens to be in. Unfortunately the answer is always the same irrespective of where the company is on its journey to wealth & success.
The answer is, it's the people!
Taking an idea to market entails working with people to help you move your idea to concept and your concept to market. Once your concept has been accepted you move from an entrepreneur to a business owner. This is where the Change Journey becomes interesting.
As you begin to add people to accomplish your business goals & objectives, to simply multiply your [single] efforts of getting your product/service to market, you realize there are systems and controls (e.g., communication, etc.) that must be put into place. This is necessary for one reason and one reason only, to ensure as your business grows it retains the characteristics of what you initially went to market with and improves its sustainable patterns allowing for growth.
Now, as a business owner, you're basking in the light of success and with a product or service the world has adopted. There can never be too much of it, thus "the appetite" of push/pull increases over time and with it the business structure must also refine or wait, "change".
You, as an entrepreneur and successful business owner, have weathered the storms of moving from concept to start-up and are likely on the Change Journey phase of business transformation from small business to maturing business. This is great, congratulations!
With the success of generating revenue on a product/service you once only dreamed of and realizing profits, it's time for you to ensure you've got the ability to improve upon those systems used to deliver your products or services. By working with those people you've brought on board, you establish the appropriate controls (i.e., governance) that help to ensure your people are performing the right things at the right time and are aligned in what occurs when.
This is when you realize what the difference between managing [a process or systems] and leading [people] to achieve the expected outcome of delivering the product or service [you created] to your customers.
This is called Organizational Change Management (or OCM).
Did you notice we began with one individual with a fantastic idea that grew into one person needing more people to help get there idea off the ground, and then more people to move the idea to a product/service? Furthermore, people see the value and purchase the product, which in turn leads to the development of systems to provide more product. And this leads to hiring more people to expand the capability of the business to provide more product / service to market. Hopefully, this cycle continues over the Change Journey.
However, what is typically lost during the small business’ maturing phase of the Change Journey is the entrepreneur's ability to recognize they will need to effectively "lead" people through changes as they [together] progress down the business' Change Journey. People come with various complexities that add to the challenges experienced in one business' Change
Journey. Therefore, as you add one individual to the team the level of complexity increases by 100% and as you increase the number of people you also increase the challenges experienced along the journey.
OCM applies a structured approach to managing the Change Journey every business experiences. A methodological framework is applied to help the business understand it's current state while planning how to achieve its future state, this while ensuring all the people that make up the company's team experience healthy, organic, sustainable, growth, performance along the Change Journey.
Although OCM is generally applied to the systems the leadership has put in place [for those people helping to achieve the goals & objectives] the intended purpose of OCM is to ensure people-side risk management tenants are embedded in the cultural elements of the business. So as it grows, the right cultural aspects are in place to help the people realize the success initially achieved by the one who took the first step of the journey!
As indicated early on in the summary, people are the greatest commodity a business has! Moreover, if this is true, you would think the greatest investment a future business owner or business leadership team would make is in it's people and not [necessarily] in its technology (as that serves to make people more efficient) or it's dividends (as these are only achievable by the people who came together as one to achieve a collective goal).
There is a common quote that is recognizable no matter what business you're associated with and it is expressed like this…
"..the one constant aspect of business is change!"
If this is true and you now know that change is directly linked to the people that make up your ability to take your product or service to market, doesn't it help to prepare yourself for the one aspect of your business that hinges on its success or failure?