One Small Change Can Yield Big Dividends

One Small Change Can Yield Big Dividends

We sometimes take a slash and burn, all or nothing approach to change. However, great results also stem from one small change.

When faced with a large problem, or several problems, managers can be tempted to think that changing everything will fix everything. They believe sales will rise if only they fire the entire staff, completely change the product line, and/or outsource a department. Dramatic changes often divert focus from normal business goals to implementation of the change and working out its attendant issues. This can cause a bad situation to further deteriorate, alienate front-line and back-office workers, further frustrate management, and leave customers dissatisfied until the dust settles.

When you begin to examine any issue (flagging sales, customer complaints, product quality issues, poor communication), before you take drastic action, try to narrow down the root cause of the issue. Then pinpoint one change that might yield the best result.

For example, ask yourself and your team why the issue exists before jumping to solutions. If sales are flagging, is the issue a marketing issue, a sales issue, a product issue, or a service issue? If you determine a dip in sales is a result of poor customer service, narrow down further. Is there a particular part of the service process that is harming sales—lack of skills or information in your service department, a company procedure that blocks quick problem resolution, or insufficient reserve of replacement parts? Continue to dig—is there one particular skill on which you could refocus training, one procedure change that will speed up problem resolution, or one inventory item or group that you cannot afford to be without?

More often than not, small, targeted changes can yield better results for both the short- and long-term, causing less collateral damage. They may better enable you to boost poor performance, retain quality staff, improve customer satisfaction—and boost sales. Once you’ve pinpointed and resolved one specific problem, move on to the next one.