The keys to mastering business change

I read somewhere that the mastery of change is the single skill that separates the successful manager from the also-rans. Change is the engine that keeps a company growing. John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And, those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

Change is inevitable. Changes like the rise and fall of the stock market and changes in the weather — especially here in wonderful Wisconsin — happen in cycles and are accepted as a part of life. Changes like a move, job transfer, upgrades in technology, changes in management — also things that are a part of work and life — can’t always be controlled.

A few years ago, when we moved our company to a new space after 17 years in one spot, I said we would never move again. Those were famous last words. Change is coming, yet again for our own business as we break through a wall to move our company over to another space at our current location. While this is a great move, we can’t help but feel overwhelmed as we work through our busy season to make sure that nothing gets dropped while we’re in change mode. Anyone who has ever moved a company, whether a long distance or next door, knows that managing this change requires some resilience on the part of the team that’s in charge.

Change can be a matter of little steps every day or it can be as quick as an accidental fall, auto accident, or any other incident that changes the way one’s life goes forward for a short or long time. It can come quickly when the head of a company dies and there is no plan in place to go forward. This happened in my family’s business many years ago when my father was killed in an auto/train collision and there was no succession plan in place. To keep a successful company going, one of my older brothers, who was at that time an attorney and a judge, gave up his career to step up and move the business forward — successfully. Not every company is as lucky to have someone who can step into a role as though they were understudying for years.

While none of us wants to think about not being around to keep a company going forever, business owners/managers should think about future leaders before the need presents itself by accident.

So, we’re in the process of our most recent change and my husband, Dave, over did it and hurt his knee moving some heavy boxes. This change threw our action plan out the window, so we called the company that has moved us personally and professionally several times — Tim Lightner and his Two Men & A Truck team — and now we’re back on track.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Tim a couple weeks ago, not only about his business acumen but also about all the things he and his company do to help local nonprofit organizations. From the Share Your Holidays Stuff-a-Semi food drive to helping MOM (Middleton Outreach Ministry) to Second Harvest Food Bank to you name it, Tim and his team show how much they care by showing up. Tim’s great concern is to help with basic needs like food. His help during change is much appreciated by community organizations — and by our company during our improvement phase. Thanks, Tim!

Now, our company’s goal is to master this latest change and to keep shaking things up so we’re always ready for new and exciting things!

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