Raising the Dead

2. Be Prepared for Resistance

Perseverance is key. People almost always resist change. Yet to turn a business around, everyone within it must abandon the familiar and embrace the unknown. This is a challenging concept, because it involves accepting new responsibilities as well as working in new, untried ways. For non-managerial employees, these new ways include:

  • Accepting that the ownership of problems and solutions belongs to everyone in the business.
  • Understanding that work must equal value. It's not enough to perform bottom-line duties.
  • Realizing everyone must pull in the same direction.
  • Caring about the job by displaying integrity and trust.

This change doesn't occur in a vacuum, however. As the business owner, it's up to you to help employees make these crucial changes. Here's how:

  • Share information, and provide complete and thorough training.
  • View your workers as assets.
  • Pick the right people for specific jobs.
  • Ask for, listen to and then act on others' viewpoints.
  • Reward good job performance.

Your objective is to prevent future problems, not just battle current ones. If you want the changes to take hold, the commitment to change must be shared within the organization. Barriers must be broken, and that must be done by involving everyone. The buzzword here is "empowerment"-getting workers to motivate themselves by reawakening their universal desire to excel and their craving for acceptance.

Training and motivational efforts can go a long way toward getting your employees to support you while you're trying to turn your company around.
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This article was originally published in the February 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Raising the Dead.

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