Last week, July 27th in Baton Rouge and July 29th in New Orleans, LCIA hosted two sessions of our workshop, "Business Operations Strategies: Learning the Process for Change.” It was part of LCIA’s Industry Insights program, with the topic designed to appeal to all of Louisiana’s industries.
Part I. Presenters Bill Lewis and Mike Smith from OpEx Realization Group led the workshop. A key feature to the first portion of the workshop is that we can all go through change, we prove we can, but…we should think about how to be more "proactive” versus "reactive. In other words, how to: Change Before You Have To.
Bill and Mike first discussed types of change businesses go through, as well as the circumstances that can necessitate change. They then discussed the process involved to overcoming resistance (the enemy of change) and moving forward through change. This includes:
- Creating a "healthy dissatisfaction” with the status quo. "There is something better”
- Having a vision for the future. "What the future looks like” and "What are the benefits of this view of the future?”
- Identifying first steps. "What feasible steps can I take towards change?”
There are many different areas of a business where potential for change exists, and OpEx helps businesses identify which changes would be profitable.
Part II. After a short break, Bill and Mike talked about leading an organization through change. Announcing change to your employees can elicit a number of reactions. In order to get employee buy-in, Bill and Mike explained, it is important to understand employees’ reactions and meet them where they are.
Workshop Structure. The smaller—but highly engaged—crowd on Wednesday in Baton Rouge lent itself to a lively roundtable discussion, whereas the larger audience on Friday—another energetic and engaged group—created a more traditional workshop setup. There was no presenter-audience barrier, however, as Bill and Mike walked around the room and engaged individuals, creating an interactive workshop atmosphere.
Thank you. On behalf of LCIA, I thank Bill and Mike, along with their consulting firm, OpEx, for the wonderfully informative presentation. I also thank all of our attendees from both days. We hope that you learned something from our experienced presenters, and that you consider taking them up on their offer to visit your business.
My Takeaways. The following are a few of the many lessons that I took away from Wednesday’s and Friday’s workshops:
- Change can be major, minor, and anywhere in between. Bill Lewis clearly illustrated the difference between a small tweak and a large change. Change can also be proactive or reactive.
- Bringing a team through change happens on a personal level. Whether you have one employee, 100 employees, or 100,000 employees, each member of the team moves through the change process at his/her own pace. Mike Smith’s examples of leading a 1,000 employee plant through change can also apply to a small team.
- The process of accepting change is similar to the grieving stages. When employees first hear of an organizational change, they may first be in denial. They may then try to fight back, then later accept the change.
One last takeaway I had from getting to know OpEx: while much of their experience is working with large, multi-national corporations, they seem to genuinely enjoy working with small businesses. They have refined their processes in a way that apply to small businesses, and they are flexible in their cost structure. "My business is not big enough” or "I can’t afford them” should not be barriers to giving them a call.
To learn more about OpEx realization group, visit their website. Or feel free to give them a call at 844-255-2155.
"What I Learned at” is a new series in LCIA’s Orange Blog. We use this series to provide recaps of LCI and LCIA events. Additionally, our staff will occasionally attend professional development and educational classes. We utilize the "What I Learned at” blog series to report what we learned to you.