Change Management – The State of Business and the Changing Workplace

There once was a day when the man (or woman)of the house would get up in the morning and go to work at his 40 hour a week job. We will call him Joe. Joe would return home promptly after he finished his workday at 5:00 PM. Or maybe he would stop at his local watering hole to pick up some spirit. For his job he was typically an insignificant cog in the wheel yet he was able to earn enough salary at his job to support his family and live a pretty good life.

He would probably stay with his company for 30-40 years until he was ready to retire. He had some free time to go fishing, golfing, spend time with his family, or do whatever he wanted with it. To some people this would seem like a mundane existence. To others this sounds pretty good. It all depends on where you are at in your life and career. His job was predictable. His life was predictable. Many of the standards of business practice originated in that time frame and have the same kind of predictability.

Fast forward to the information age or at least the tail end of it. This is what we are most familiar with. The age of Joe seems a long way back. We have grown accustomed to the wonders of technology. Some genius somewhere created this amazing tool for business. It was called the fax machine. We no longer had to pick up the telephone to call someone if I want to communicate with them. Better yet, we no longer had to send a letter through the mail for written correspondence. We could just fax it. It was there in minutes, maybe even seconds if there was a good connection. It was great. We could get so much more done. Just think of what this amazing technology could do for the economy. Right?

Well, as we all know, it only gets better, way better. We have had a few “This changes everything(TGE)” moments in the world of business over the last 40 years. The first recent modern example might be the personal computer. It was only 25 years ago since we started using the personal desktop computer. This is several lifetimes in the world of technology. The personal computer drastically changed the economy in so many ways. The pc changed the way we worked entirely. It changed how we thought. We needed an operating system better than DOS. Nobody was going to remember all that code. The Apple was a better machine. It was more “user friendly”. The IBM Personal Computer would be the solution for business. We needed ready to run software to run on this pc.

Enter Microsoft.

Microsoft shaped the way we do business. They wrote the rules. They got us hooked on their programs and until we were dependent. Computer manufacturers put Microsoft programs on the PC’s that we bought. It was like we were getting Word and Excel for free. It was genius. Now we could process information with a reckless abandon. We could work with speed and efficiency like we could have never imagined. Data processing was a snap. For goodness sake we could make spreadsheets. A computer could do all of our work for us and we could just sit there and watch it work, right? We were thinking, it couldn’t get any better than this. Well, it did. But it was a great and wonderful run for the personal desktop computer. It changed the world in so many ways. Business was happening, commerce was flowing. We were sliding into an age of abundance. Or so we thought.

Enter the global equalizer.

As we all know by now the internet is a juggernaut when it comes to a “This Changes Everything” moment. There certainly hasn’t been any single technology that has had the impact of the internet. You could see the potential right away. You just didn’t know how it would play out. I have news for you. It is playing out. And it is nowhere close to played out. The great thing about the internet is that it truly is an equalizer. Everyone has a chance to be successful in business. The big guys and the small guys are all on a level playing field. Well, it appears that way on the surface anyway. If we could just figure out how this thing called the internet really works. We can all get in the game.

Enter Google.

Google has quietly reshaped the way we do business. Much of it they have done invisibly. They have rewritten the rules. They are like a kid that comes into a football game and decides to change all the rules to benefit him. The search engine holds the keys to the power of the internet. And they have the king of search engines. They decide who gets discovered and who does not. Discoverability is the difference between success or failure in business. The technology is absolutely amazing and the general population has no idea how it works. People hear the phrase keyword and figure that’s all there is to it. You have new terms like Search Engine Optimization(SEO) and Search Engine Marketing(SEM). You have indexing and spidering. They are writing a whole new language. The thing is the technology is fantastic. To think that I can type a specific question into google, click the search button and in seconds I have dozens of answers to the question by experts on the subject. For now, the power of discoverability is the written word. Google is reshaping our economy.

Enter Social Networking

What will we do with this beast? It is still yet to be determined who will be the king of social networking. As far as we can tell there are two kinds of social networking. Social networking for work and for play. Keeping them separate can be a challenge and has already caused problems for some businesses. The thing is, whether you like social networking or not, it is critical that businesses do not ignore it. Social networking is one of the keys to discoverability. I find sites like LinkedIn to be extremely valuable in many ways. It enables me to keep in touch with people I would not otherwise. I don’t think you have to invest huge amounts of time to get advantage from these networking sites. Networking has long been a key to business success. Social networking on the internet is just the electronic version, on steroids. The potential of Social networking dwarfs traditional networking. Keep in mind social networking sites are still dependent on Google and other search engines. The sites have to play by the rules defined by the search engines.

Enter Mobile Technology

It won’t be long and mainstream businesses won’t have a computer on every employee’s desk any longer. We are no longer going to be processing information the way we have in the past. For most job descriptions the only processing capability you will need will be on your phone. This isn’t even the future. This is already the past.

In many ways the smart phone is already a more efficient, more effective business tool than the personal computer. For those of you that haven’t jumped into the world of mobile applications, I say this. Get on board. The world of mobile applications is in its infancy but you can already see the potential. In just a few months mobile applications have grown, in many respects, to be more powerful than the personal computer in how it can impact business. After all, take the internet off the personal computer and what do you have? By now most productivity software programs are dependent on the internet for support and functionality.

When it is all said and done mobile applications will prove to be more functional, more efficient, more effective and certainly more convenient than personal computers. Actually they already perform two almost completely different functions. There is overlap but the convenience of mobile apps is unbelievable. There are certain types of activities that it seems would be difficult on such a small format and are better suited for the pc. Let’s wait a few years before we decide on that.

What does this all mean? All this technology reshapes how business is done and it reshapes the economy. It redefines how work is performed. On a basic level, the 8-5 job is no longer the standard. The 40 hour work week is no longer an absolute. There are more and more people working from their homes and there are many more people work on contract. Companies have been forced to cut back and they are now outsourcing services they had been keeping in house. More and more professionals are working freelance and as owners of very small businesses.

When preparing ourselves for dealing with the changing workplace we must fist come to understand the evolving nature of the workplace. Putting together a change management plan is how businesses can effectively deal with the rapid pace of change.

There are four basic levels of due diligence for most any change management plan whether you are talking about a property related project or a project in general business. The four levels must be completed in sequential order to be effective for preparation of project. Of course there may be several steps or stages to each level.

First you must Identify the factors that will have an influence, negative or positive on the success of your project. Second you will need to assess the impact of each factor or influence on the project. Next you must conceptualize or prioritize a solution to respond to all factors and impacts. Once you have completed these three levels of due diligence you are ready to begin the process of putting together a plan.

Identify Assess Conceptualize Plan

Make a plan for change management. You will be glad you did. Check out my upcoming articles and I will outline for the primary levels of change management and provide you with detailed description on how to build a change management plan to help you succeed in the new economy.

Home-Based Business and Drop Shipping – Network With a Drop Shipper and Earn Income While at Home!

There is perhaps no better place to work and earn income than the comforts of your home. Earning income while at home and looking after the needs of the kids and doing house chores is perhaps one of the best sought-after work arrangements. One might think that working at home is difficult and cannot be done. Wrong! A new system called drop shipping now allows anyone who wishes to stay at home and at the same time earn a living.

Doing home-based job only needs a telephone and an Internet broadband connection. Convert a small place in your house, a room perhaps, as your office in order to avoid disruptions when calls are made to you by online buyers. Having a space used solely as an office area is also good especially if you still have kids at home. Yelling and cries of children will not do you any good if heard by the customer on the other side of the telephone line. So there you are, with not so much capital investment, you may now launch your own web site and start your online retail business by networking with reliable drop shippers.

Drop shipping is a business innovation specifically designed to cater to the supply requirements of online retailers who are not keen on maintaining stocks and want to be relieved of the delivery works. As a home-based online retailer working with drop ship suppliers, you can put on sale various kinds of products with less operating expense. Your drop ship supplier maintains and warehouses his supplies and undertakes to do the delivery when required. In this wise, the work of the home-based online seller is made less complicated and is reduced to being a middle-man between his drop shipper and the online purchaser.

Nowadays, success in the home-based online retail business rests on having a reliable and established drop shipping manufacturer or wholesaler. Some retailers registered with online directories of drop shippers and wholesalers. These directories contain lists of established players in the drop ship industry in the U.S. and in abroad. In some cases, these directories also offer various kinds of services like providing tips on marketing and management services. Ultimately, however, since success hinges on having a good drop ship supplier, the online seller must really choose the best drop ship company to work with.

Business and Industry in Coventry

During World War II in the middle of the 20th century Coventry had the dubious honour of being the UKs third most bombed city after London and Plymouth. The reason that Coventry was so heavily targeted during the war was its industrial base in munitions and military vehicle production. Sadly, as with so many other UK cities, that industrial production base has virtually disappeared leaving only a few truly industrial scale companies operating in the city. Having played an important role in the UK motor industry for many decades with such illustrious names as: Hillman, Standard, Rolls Royce and Triumph – cars, motor-bikes and pedal cycles. Coventry now only produces vehicles for niche markets following the recent closure of the French owned Peugeot car production plant at Ryton. Coventry city council is currently securing inward investment to attract new businesses to replace those that have disappeared or are in decline.

Car production does continue in Coventry, although for how long is a matter of much speculation. Although currently owned by the Ford Motor Company, Jaguar has its corporate headquarters in a production facility at its Browns Lane site in Allesley. Since opening in 1941 it has become the main veneer production plant for Jaguar cars, as well as having its head offices and heritage centre. At nearby Whitley is the Jaguar Design, Research & Development Centre, where all the companies engineering work is carried out. In total, Jaguar employs over 2500 people in the city. Ford Motor Company is currently trying to sell off Jaguar, in order to clear other company debts. One of the most familiar sites in all major UK towns and cities is the famous black cab or Hackney taxis. These are made by the LTI company who are based at Holyhead Road in Coventry. LTI have been making taxis for sixty years, in which time over 100,000 have rolled off their production line. LTI employs nearly 500 people at its production plant, making it a significant employer in the city. Formed by the amalgamation of two companies and now owned by AGCO, Massey-Ferguson is one of the best known manufacturers of farm tractors in the world. They began making tractors in Coventry in the early 1950s and now have their headquarters in Stoneleigh, near Kenilworth. The company now makes tractors and a range of combine harvesters and quad bikes.

Ericssons is a telecommunications company with premises in the New Century Park, not far from the city centre. Having subsumed the former Marconi and GPT works in the city, it now employs over 2000 people, manufacturing and engineering networking and switching gear for international telecommunications clients. Another international telecommunications company – Cable and Wireless – has its UK training centre in the business park at Warwick University, on the outskirts of the Coventry. The headquarters for Dunlop Aerospace are located in Coventry to the north of the city near the M6 junction 3 at Longford. Where it not only manufactures aerospace braking systems but also designs and markets them. It currently has contracts for braking systems to BAE, Lockheed-Martin and the Airbus A380 aeroplanes.

Along with many other cities that have seen their manufacturing base eroded over recent years, Coventry has attracted some service industries to the area to provide alternative jobs. Being very close to the centre of England and having excellent motorway links to the rest of the country, Coventry has become a major distribution centre for many delivery and courier companies. Parcel Force has its national depot at Coventry whilst TNT, DHL, ANC and UPS all have depots in the city employing several hundred people in all.

Coventry has a long association with the textiles industry, particularly wool and silk, dating back to medieval times. Whilst several small textiles companies remain in Coventry it is currently best known for its Courtaulds factory and the development the Grafil carbon-fibre that is used in sports and automotive equipment and Tencel – the cellulose fibre made from wood-pulp.

As well as the textiles industry, Coventry was, up to the mid 19th century, the centre of watch-making in the UK. During its heyday in the early 1800s it employed over 75,000 people and was making 200,000 watches a year. As the century progressed watch making declined, the market becoming flooded with imports from the USA, until by the turn of the century the trade had all but ceased. Many workers went on to find employment in the rapidly developing bicycle manufacturing businesses, which at his time employed nearly 40,000 people in Coventry alone. In time some of these workers quite probably went on to become the founding workers in the new motor car industry. By 1910 there were dozens of car manufacturers in Coventry, with long forgotten names like: Iden, Centaur and Aurora. Some other companies were more enduring such as: Humber, Rover and from 1928 – Jaguar.