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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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            Last Updated on April 23, 2019

            How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

            How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

            Stretch goals are a lot like physical fitness. When you adopt a physical sport such as running, continual practice leads to increased stamina, growth and progress.

            While commitment to the sport improves performance, true growth happens when you are stretched beyond your comfort zone. I know this from personal experience.

            For years, I was an avid runner. I ran with a variety of running groups in the Washington, D.C., area and in Columbus, Ohio, where I lived prior to moving to the nation’s capital in 2011.

            While I was initially fearful about slacking off on my exercise habit when I moved to D.C., running enthusiasts in the area provided continual motivation, inspiring me to lace up my shoes day after day. Much to my surprise, many of the area’s running stores (including Pacers and Potomac River Running) boasted running groups that met in the mornings and evenings. So, it was relatively easy for a newcomer like me to connect with like-minded peers.

            I was never a particularly fast runner, but I enjoyed the afterglow of the sport: being completely drained but feeling a sense of accomplishment; setting and reaching goals; buying and wearing out new tennis shoes. The sound of throngs of feet pounding the pavement in semi-unison is still enough to bring tears to my eyes. Yes, I sometimes tear up at the start of races.

            Of all the groups I ran with, the Pacers Store group that met on Monday nights in Logan Circle boasted the fastest runners. I met up with the group week after week only to be the slowest runner. It was difficult to muster the courage to get up every week and meet the group knowing what was waiting for me: sweating and watching the backs of fellow runners.

            Each time I joined the group, I was stretching myself without even realizing it. Instead of feeling like I was transitioning into a better running, for a long time I felt I was torturing myself.

            Then something remarkable happened. I went for a run with a different set of runners and noticed my time had improved. I was running at a faster pace and doing so with ease. What was once uncomfortable for me I now handled with ease.

            The reason I was becoming a better runner was because I was taking myself out of my comfort zone and challenging myself physically and mentally. This example illustrates the process of growth.

            Fortunately, we can create situations that stretch us in our personal and professional lives.

            What Is a Stretch Goal?

            A stretch goal – as authors Sim B. Sitkin, C. Chet Miller and Kelly E. See detail an article “The Stretch Goal Paradox” in Harvard Business Review[1] – is something that is extremely difficult and novel. It is something that not everyone does, and it’s sometimes considered impossible.

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            In general, you establish stretch goals by doing things that are difficult or temporarily challenging.

            For instance, when I was first promoted to a senior communications management role, I knew I needed to beef up my relationships with media personalities. I set a goal to once a month book a day of media interviews in New York City – which is home to many media outlets, including SiriusXM radio, CNN, NBC News, HuffPost, VIBE.

            This was a huge goal because it meant not only identifying the right people to meet with but convincing them to meet with me and my team. While I didn’t end up meeting the goal of doing a full day of media interviews in New York City, I met more people than I would have met had I not established the goal and instead stayed in the comfort of my D.C. office.

            It is important to note that just because you establish a stretch goal doesn’t mean you’ll achieve the goal each time. However, the process of trying is guaranteed to provide some level of growth.

            The Importance of Creating Stretch Goals

            The beginning of the year is a perfect time to assess where you are excelling and where there is room for you to grow. I typically start the year by creating a yearlong strategic plan for myself.

            I think about the things that are necessary to do and things that would be cool to do. I assess the people I should know and think through how to meet them. Then I ask myself if the goals are realistic and what would need to happen for me to achieve them.

            Over time, I have learned that there are five things I can do to set stretch goals:

            1. Get Outside of Your Head

            If I exist within the confines of my imagination, I imperil my own growth and creativity.

            If I examine my accomplishments and celebrate them in isolation of others’ accomplishments, my vantage point is limited.

            I want to be comfortable with what I accomplish, but I also want to be motivated by watching others. In some respects, stretching is about expanding your network of friends, associates and mentors. These are the people who will propel or slow your growth and development.

            Since two are better than one, I always value being able to share my progress with others, seek feedback and then map a plan for success.

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            2. Focus on a Couple Areas at a Time

            When setting goals, it is important to focus on a couple of areas at a time. Most of us are only able to focus on a few things at a time, and if you feel you are unable to tackle all that is before you, you may simply disengage.

            I see this in so many areas of life:

            When people get in debt, if they believe the debt is insurmountable, they refuse to look at incoming bills for fear of facing down the debt. Unfortunately, many businesses go awry when setting stretch goals.

            In “The Stretch Goal Paradox,” Sitkin, Miller and See note:

            “Our research suggests that though the use of stretch goals is quite common, successful use is not. And many executives set far too many stretch goals. In the past five years, for example, Tesla failed to meet more than 20 of founder Elon Musk’s ambitious projections and missed half of them by nearly a year, according to the Wall Street Journal.”

            Goal-setting is like a marathon, not a sprint. It doesn’t all need to happen at the same time, and pacing is extremely important if you want to get to the finish line. It is better to focus on a couple goals at a time, master them and then move on to the next thing.

            3. Set Aside Time Each Year to Focus on Goal-Setting

            When I was a managing director for communications for the Advancement Project, I spent the first part of every year facilitating a communications planning meeting.

            The planning meeting began with the team members assessing the goals the team had established in the preceding year, and whether those goals were realistic or not. If we failed to meet certain goals, we broke down why that happened. From there, we brainstormed about possibilities for the current year.

            For instance, one year we set a goal of pitching and getting 24 opinion essays published. This was audacious because no one on the eight-person team had the luxury of focusing exclusively on editing and pitching opinion essays to publications around the world. We would need to focus on pitching in between the rest of our work.

            We hit this goal within the first eight months of the year. Remarkably, in total, we ended up getting 40 opinion essays published that year, which was an indication that our original goal was too low. We upped the goal to 41 the next year, and amazingly, we hit 42 published opinion essays or guest columns.

            From this experience, we not only learned what was feasible, we also learned the power of focus.

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            When we focused as a team on getting the commentary on our issues out in the public domain, we were successful. The key in all of this is that there was a ton of discussion around which goal we’d pursue and why.

            Equally important, as a manager, I didn’t set the goals alone; the team members and I established the goals collaboratively. This ensured buy-in from each individual.

            4. Use the S.M.A.R.T. Goal Model to Set Realistic Goals

            S.M.A.R.T.

            is a synonym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. For the sake of this article, the realistic portion of the acronym is most important.

            While you want to set audacious goals, you want to ensure that they are realistic as well. No one is served by setting a goal that is impossible to accomplish.

            Failing to meet goals can be demoralizing for teams, so it’s important to be sober-eyed about what is possible. Additionally, the purpose of setting goals is to advance and grow, not depress morale.

            For instance, my team would have been discouraged had I begun the year asking it to pitch and place 40 opinion essays if we didn’t already have a track record of placing close to two dozen essays.

            By using the S.M.A.R.T. formula, we were able to achieve all that we set out to do.

            5. Break the Goal up into Small Digestible Parts

            I am a recovering perfectionist. As a writer, being a perfectionist can be counterproductive because I can fail to start if I don’t see a clear pathway to victory.

            The same is true with goal-setting. That’s why I join Lifehack’s fellow contributor Deb Knobelman, Ph.D., in noting that it is critically important to break goals into bite-sized chunks.

            When I had a goal of doing daylong media meetings in New York City, I had to think through all the barriers to achieving that goal and all the steps required to meet the goal.

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            One step was identifying which reporters, producers and hosts to engage. Another step was writing a pitch or meeting invitation that would capture their attention. Another step was thinking through the program areas I wanted to highlight and the new angles I could offer to different reporters.

            Since reporters want to cover stories that no one else has written, I needed to come up with fresh angles for each of the reporters I was engaging. An additional step was thinking through who from my team I’d take with me to the various meetings.

            I was clear that, as a talking head, as public relations reps are sometimes called, I needed the right spokesperson in order to land repeated meetings with different outlets.

            A final step was thinking through what I needed to bring to each meeting and which reports, videos and testimonials would buttress our claims and be of interest to media figures.

            As I walked through what was needed to bring my goal of doing daylong meetings to reality, I realized that not only was the idea within reach, but I was excited to tackle the challenge.

            From that point until now, I have learned to break down goals into smaller parts and tackle the smaller parts on the path to knocking the goal out of the park.

            The Bottom Line

            These are my recommendations for setting stretch goals, and there are a ton of other resources to support you in the workplace and in your community.

            For instance, LinkedIn’s Lynda.com platform has a wonderful suite of leadership development videos, including ones on establishing stretch goals. This is a paid resource but may be worth the investment if you lead a team or want to invest in tools for your own growth and development.

            Featured photo credit: Avatar of user Isaac Smith Isaac Smith @isaacmsmith Isaac Smith via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Harvard Business Review: The Stretch Goal Paradox

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