God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
This prayer is known as the Serenity Prayer and is used by many self-help seekers and 12-step programs.
Its power lies in its simplicity and honesty. Everything is in one of two boxes. In one box are the things you cannot change and the other box contains the things you can change.
We, as a people, are not very good at determining which box contains what things. So, this prayer is asking for divine guidance to help see what things are in each box.
What Should We Change?
We need to use this prayer in our businesses because there is always something that we need to change.
To stop looking for things to change is to stagnate. Our world around us is constantly changing. Our customer’s attitudes are changing, the technology we use is changing, and the needs of the people we hire are changing. To remain competitive, we need to be changing as well.
Logic indicates the best time to implement change is not when you are struggling, but when your business is humming along smoothly. When business is good, clients are satisfied, and the staff is happy, any changes made will be seen as a positive move and an improvement. You and your business will be viewed as progressive, at the front of the business curve, and proactive.
My question for today is “How do you determine what to change?”
- The most important place to start is your mission statement and values statement.
This is not a wholesale change in your mission statement or your values statement. But are there tweaks that need to be made to ensure your current practices are reflected in what you say. If what you do and what you say are not the same, then one or the other needs to change.
Looking at your mission statement and values statement is not a simple act. Input from your employees and possibly your clients is necessary to make sure that what you identify as your mission and values are their mission and values.
- Look to your overall business plan.
Have your markets changed, have buying habits changes, and has technology changed your materials or your production process? Has your employee base changed? Will any of these changes impact the future trajectory of your company. Each of these changes needs to be evaluated within the scope of your overall business plan.
- Examine what your competition is doing.
You need to see if you are a follower or an industry leader. Are parallel businesses making changes that are a foreshadow of what you need to be making? What are you using to stay current with industry trends?
- Involve your employees.
Your frontline employees are an often-overlooked source of information that can provide a wealth of insight into what is going on below the management level. This “street level” of information often provides the best ideas for positive change.
Change and the Bible
The most fundamental perception about change that needs changing is that change is good. A fundamental storyline of the Bible is that change has been occurring since the beginning of time and that the result of change is that it is good.
Understanding first that change is always needed and that the Bible tells us things will change, the critical issue then is not what to change but how to manage change. As business leaders and entrepreneurs, we need to plan always to change and plan how to manage those changes.
It has been said that God is in the business of changing our plans to match His, which always results in something better. Proverbs 16:9 says.
The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.
The Bible is a constant story of people changing their plans. God took Abraham and changed his life which changed the course of history. Jesus changed the entire Jewish and Roman culture on His way to changing the hearts of all people.
Change is inevitable. We need always to be looking for what to change that will keep us current and competitive. It is the management of these changes that is the challenge for business leaders. God, who is in the business of change, is available to take the stress out of these challenges. If you need help, let Him help.