Leading through Change: Weekly words from Dilip Barot: Dealing with lawsuits, layoffs, and mergers

If there is one thing I know, it is that nothing stays the same. Change is all around us.  Change is even more evident at the corporate level.  From small businesses like Creative Choice Homes and Creative Choice Group to large enterprise firms like Microsoft or Google, most businesses have been forced to manage through uncertain and unfavorable economic times.

When this occurs, it often triggers a number of events that cause business leaders and business owners to make difficult decisions.  From organizational changes, to layoffs, to lawsuits and mergers & acquisitions – often there is no easy answer to course correct and keep a business on the road to success.  With endless changes and so many unpopular choices, what is a leader to do?

8-17-15 - Leading through ChangeAs an entrepreneur I started Creative Choice Group in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida with only humble beginnings.  I had no idea how our team would grow or how this business would expand globally over a period of 30 years. But I can tell you that I have seen first-hand how some changes can impact a business in a positive way and how if not prepared, some changes can impact a business in a negative way. Uncertainty is the only real constant in your business, but how you deal with change ultimately helps determine where you land – with the glass half full or the glass half empty.

According to Management 4-1-1, the following few tips can business leaders like us lead through change:

  1. Attitude is everything – In times of change and crisis, employees, customers and investors will often look to you for signals of “good” or “bad.”  How you carry yourself, as well as what and how you say things is incredibly important.  You need to stay calm and positive to avoid unnecessary panic within and outside the organization.   Let’s be honest. Staying calm is sometimes easier said than done.  As I have shared in prior blogs, I find that yoga is an excellent tool for finding balance and harmony between mind, spirit and soul, esp. during difficult times.
  2. Acknowledgement – Honesty is always the best policy.  Acknowledge the current situation. Share with employees the impact, where possible, so that the tone can be set by you their leader vs. through rumors and innuendo.  There is nothing worse than letting invalid information spread at the water cooler.
  3. Set and Establish clear priorities – Ambiguity can be a killer during change.  It is important to be clear and crisp in establishing priorities and objectives.  Focus will help maintain productivity for you and the team.
  4. Increase communication efforts – During change, it’s too easy to “go dark” on your people.  Decisions are being made quickly and things are sometimes in a state of flux. Setting up a communications channel will ensure people are getting the information they need.

Last, when change is going on, it is important for you, the leader to stay involved. Being close to the tactical action, and physically present, will help keep individuals focused on the tasks at hand. Often at our Palm Beach Gardens, Florida office, I host “all hands” meetings with our Creative Choice Homes and Creative Choice Group team members. It is a great way to make myself accessible and answer questions real time to keep business priorities on track. It is important to acknowledge change and step out in front of your team to inspire confidence and to achieve that next level of success.