Do you have a “resistance to change” problem?

By | January 31, 2016

We keep hearing that printers aren’t in the printing business anymore, and the evidence of non-print-centric thinking is all around us. But it’s one thing to know that you have to embrace change. It’s another to actually do it.

In its 2015 State of the Industry report, Epicomm asked printers what they need to do to improve their company’s adaptability to change.

  • The number one response was “executing our decisions” (58.1%). In other words, we can talk all we want, but until we started doing it, all that talk doesn’t get us off the starting block.
  • Number two was figuring out what the change means to them and what to do about it (45.6%). You can make investments in new services, but if your customers don’t need or want those services, you’ve just wasted your money.
  • Number three was communicating change to employees (38.8%).
  • Number four was anticipating change more effectively and getting out ahead of it (35.0%).
  • Number five was reducing resistance to change (30.6%). This one should probably have been higher. You can’t come up with new strategic directions, execute those decisions, and motivate employees if you’ve got a “resistance to change” problem. After all the years I’ve been around this industry, I’m thinking maybe this should have been number one.

One of the problems with planning for and executing change, of course, is how you offer new services and new directions if you don’t have core capabilities in those areas. In Unsquaring the Wheel: Building a Breakthrough Business Model (by Chis Bondy, Wayne Peterson, and Joe Webb), Jon Budington, president of Global Printing’s Global Thinking division, describes how his company did it.

We hired creatives, strategists, and technologists from outside the printing industry. We essentially bought the education we didn’t have to understand the technological change we were facing.

Not everyone has the deep pockets of Global Printing, but that’s where hiring, aligning, and other creative HR thinking comes in.

I think about the research of Margie Dana and John Zarwan that shows that few print buyers even have “print buyer” in their titles anymore. Print buyers are spread out across the organization and wearing many hats, including graphic design and marketing. You can’t even find print-centric print buyers anymore. If you’ve got resistance to change, you’ve got a problem.

Does your company have a resistance to change problem? If so, how are you addressing it?

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One thought on “Do you have a “resistance to change” problem?

  1. Jerry Scher

    I agree that resistance to change is a real challenge – a good 1st step should be reading “Unsquaring The Wheel” and engaging your management team in a serious self-awareness journey.

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