November 29, 2017

Make Change Part Of Your Routine

 |  By: Mike Opperman

Change happens on a dairy on a regular basis, whether it's wanted or not. Seasons change. The herd changes and evolves. Employees change. But what about your business? How has that evolved over time?

Change doesn't have to be that difficult. "Change management is not some occult subspecialty of management, something that's distinct from 'managing' itself," says Robert Schaffer, the founder of Schaffer Consulting and noted author. "This is curious given that, when you think about it, all management is the management of change."

In a Harvard Business Review article, Schaffer says many aspects of management that are conducted on a regular basis actually manage change. Need a new personnel policy? Change management. Production is down? Change management. Need to have a better handle on costs of production? Change management. "The job of management always involves defining what changes need to be made and seeing that those changes take place," Schaffer says. 

Change management has become the vogue topic in business because business have had difficulty making constant, rapid improvement a routine aspect of work, Schaffer says. This has created silos where the business is split between regular organizational activities and those that are labeled as change management activities. This sort of split is what causes resistance to change and it's the mindset that needs to change the most, Shaffer says. 

"Leaders should view change not as an occasional disruptor but as the very essence of the management job," Schaffer says. "Setting tough goals, establishing processes to reach them, carrying out those processes and carefully learning from them - these steps should characterize the unending daily life of the organization at every level."

To get to this point, Schaffer says to throw away the change-oriented comprehensive plan. Instead, focus on goals that are not being accomplished. For example, let's say you would like to see lower somatic cell scores on your dairy. Have teams carve out sub-goals that can be achieved in the next few months that will outline improvement. Let them test innovative ways to make a difference and learn from the process. "These steps are to advance more strategic goals, but the emphasis should be on executing specific changes," Schaffer says, "with each success followed by a new round of more ambitious goals to tackle."


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