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Successful Entrepreneurs’ Secret Strategies to Maximize Benefits

Successful Entrepreneurs’ Secret Strategies to Maximize Benefits

Nearly three centuries ago, Benjamin Franklin made a profound statement that every entrepreneur should live by: “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”

This value in this quote didn’t pass with the late genius. In the 21st Century, his advice is more relevant than ever.

Change is an inevitable part of entrepreneurship. New demographic trends, technology and other changes are constantly shaping the future of your business.

Unfortunately, most companies fail to implement change. According to Tor Benrick, nearly three quarters of these efforts are unsuccessful.[1]

A number of factors contribute to these failures. Fortunately, you can execute change more effectively by choosing the right change management models.

Overview of Top Change Management Models

Many change management models have emerged over the years. They include:

  • The Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze Model. This model focuses on the fact that certain customs and processes are built into the organization. Before change can take place, the organization must open itself up to the concept of change.
  • Kotter’s 8-Step Model of Change. This model focuses on setting short-term goals and creating a sense of urgency to every member of the team.
  • Bridge’s Transitional Model. The Bridge’s Transitional Model focuses on the impact change and complacency have on the organization and individuals within it. While this model can’t be implemented on its own, it is a great complement to other change management models.
  • Prosci ADKAR Model. This is an incremental, individualized process that all employees must embrace. Each individual sets their own objectives to make change more flexible.
  • Virginia Satir Change Process. The Virginia Satir Change Process is a more holistic change management model that focuses on the impact on individuals and helps them welcome new change.

Each of these models has its own benefits and drawbacks. Organizations should be aware of all of them and use them to their fullest advantage.

Which Is Best for Your Company?

Several change management models have gained acceptance over the past century. While these models all serve important purposes, some are better suited for specific business goals.

It is important to understand the merits of different change management models and know when to apply them. Here is an overview of some of the most widely used.

1. Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze Model: Break Resistance

In the 1940s, German-American psychologist Kurt Lewin developed the Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze model,[2] which remains one of the most widely used change management models to this day.

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Lewin recognized that humans are ambivalent about change. They may recognize the benefits change brings, but fear of the unknown can halt efforts to execute change.

    When is it most effective?

    The Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze model focuses on breaking their resistance to change. In order to accomplish this, leaders must provide a motivation to venture out of their comfort zones. Tai Lopez [3] states that motivation can come in different forms: higher compensation, better working conditions and promise of future praise are all commonly used.

    Once employees are given the motivation to embrace change, the process can begin. After it is completed, the change is permanently accepted as part of the company structure.

    When is it less effective?

    Negative motivators are less effective, such as threats of termination for failing to accept change. However, there may be instances where fear needs to be used, such as dealing with particularly stubborn employees during a crisis. As a rule of thumb, positive motivational strategies should be used whenever possible.

    While the Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze model is undoubtedly effective, it has one key downside: it takes a long time to execute. Leaders need to gradually encourage employees to come around to the inevitable.

    2. Kotter’s 8-Step Model of Change: A Collaborative Effort

    John Paul Kotter, the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus, for the Harvard Business School, has been one of the leading organizational change researchers for 45 years. One of his most ground-breaking accomplishments was the development of Kotter’s 8-Step Model of Change.

    This model is more detailed than Lewin’s. It relies on the following steps:

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    • Communicating the urgent need for change
    • Developing the coalition to guide change
    • Formulating the vision
    • Communicating the vision
    • Empowering employees and delegating duties to execute change
    • Setting short-term goals
    • Consolidating gains and setting longer-term goals
    • Ingraining new changes into the company culture

      When is it most effective?

      For many organizations, the advantage this model has over the Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze model is that it makes change a collaborative process. For companies that strive to foster a sense of inclusiveness and mutual accountability, this is a better model.

      Alberto Irace, CEO of Acea, has heavily praised Kotter’s system.[4]

      These results and initiatives have an extraordinary and immense value, because it contributes not only to the spirit of the participants, but it also shows with evidence and tangible clarity that this dual system is for us reachable and doable and is dependent on the desire, curiosity, interest and passion that each of us can bring to his or her daily work.

      When is it less effective?

      However, it is still one of the top-down change management models, so it may not be participative enough for smaller companies. The nature of small companies which employees tend to take multiple responsibilities and are more familiar with the entire operation of the business renders the process of communicating the change and vision quite nonsense.

      3. Bridge’s Transitional Model: Let go, comply and accept

      Bridge’s Transitional Model focuses more heavily on the impact change and complacency have on the individuals within the company. While it isn’t a stand-alone model for driving change, it is a great tool to be used in conjunction with other models. The model is 3-stage which can be summarized by the diagram below:

        The first phase involves ending, losing and letting go. These happen when people are forced to experience a change unwillingly and to let go of something they have been comfortable with.

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        The second phase involves the neutral emotion. People at this stage are trying hard to cope with the change and cause some emotional ups and downs.

        The third phase involves a new beginning. At this stage, people have fully adapted to the changes and start developing skills around the change.

        When is it most effective?

        It requires entrepreneurs to get input from their employees through every stage of the process, thereby getting them to buy into it, so this model is ideal for smaller companies with more participative leadership styles.

        When is it less effective?

        As the focus of the model is on transition and how to cope with it smoothly, this model alone is ineffective in change management. Most usually, it is best employed with another change management to ensure the harmonious transition.

        4. Prosci ADKAR Model: Incremental steps-oriented

        The Prosci ADKAR Model is a goal-oriented approach to change-management. It requires businesses and individuals to setup incremental steps.

        One of the unique things about the Prosci ADKAR Model is the focus on individual change and organizational change. By helping individuals set their own goals, they can often foster change better. However, individual goals need to be sync with the direction of the company.

          When is it most effective?

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          The feature that it magnifies the potential pros and cons can be a confidence boost for employees to work harder for the change. While most companies fail their attempts to change due to their focus on the method employed, this model shifts the focus to maximize the contribution of employees.

          When is it less effective?

          While the model emphasizes the emotional aspect of human involvement in change, it actually doesn’t give a very concrete explanation on how to implement it. Also it mentions quite less about the actual management method.

          5. Virginia Satir Change Process: Embrace negativity

          Developed by a leading family therapy researcher, the Virginia Satir Change Process focuses on four stages:

          • Coming to terms with the problems of the status-quo
          • Recognizing the need to address new change into the process
          • Embracing chaos
          • Using chaos to inspire new ideas

            When is it most effective?

            The good thing about this model is that it forces people to embrace the stressfulness of change, rather than resisting it. Learning to properly handle the negativity can facilitate the change process.

            When is it less effective?

            Despite encouragement on the acceptance of the potential negative emotions arisen from changes, the model does not provide actual solution on how to deal with the problem.

            Review Your Business and Choose the One That Fits It Most

            Many different change management models have been developed over the years. They all have their benefits, but there are a variety of things you need to keep in mind before choosing one. The size of your company and the level of autonomy in your leadership style are the two biggest factors that need to be taken into consideration.

            Reference

            [1] Tor Benrick: Barriers to Organizational Change
            [2] MindTools: Lewin’s Change Management Model)
            [3] Linkedln: Tai Lopez
            [4] Kotter International: The 8-Step Process for Leading Change

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            Ryan Kh

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            Last Updated on February 21, 2019

            How to Stop Information Overload

            How to Stop Information Overload

            Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

            This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

            As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

            But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

            How Serious Is Information Overload?

            The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

            This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

            When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

            We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

            No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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            The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

            That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

            Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

            Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

            But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

            Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

            Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

            When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

            Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

            The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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            You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

            How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

            So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

            1. Set Your Goals

            If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

            Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

            Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

            Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

            2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

            Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

            First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

            If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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            • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
            • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
            • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

            If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

            (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

            And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

            You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

            Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

            3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

            There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

            Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

            Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

            Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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            4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

            Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

            This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

            Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

            The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

            Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

            Summing It Up

            As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

            I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

            I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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