The Malta Independent 21 March 2019, Thursday

Women in Business: Accepting change is vital to a company’s growth

The Malta Business Weekly Thursday, 7 March 2019, 12:38 Last update: about 14 days ago

Deborah Schembri

Maybe it goes without saying and maybe it doesn't, but companies of all sizes and stripes need to change with the times or get left behind. In business, it's easy to convince ourselves that what we're chasing is stability and predictability, but the truth is a lot more exciting: Without disruptive changes, we can't grow as people and our companies can't realize their full potential.

Any business in today's fast-moving environment that is looking for the pace of change to slow is likely to be sorely disappointed. In fact, businesses should embrace change. Change is important for any organization because, without change, businesses would likely lose their competitive edge and fail to meet the needs of what most hope to be a growing base of loyal customers.

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Technology

Without change, business leaders still would be dictating correspondence to secretaries, editing their words and sending them back to the drawing board, wasting time for all involved. Change that results from the adoption of new technology is common in most organizations and while it can be disruptive at first, ultimately the change tends to increase productivity and service

Technology also has affected how we communicate. No longer do business people dial a rotary phone, get a busy signal, and try again and again and again until they get through. No longer do business people have to laboriously contact people, in person, to find out about other people who might be useful resources - they can search for experts online through search engines as well as through social media sites. Today's burgeoning communication technology represents changes that allow organizations to learn more, more quickly, than ever before.

 

Customer Needs

Customers who were satisfied with conventional ovens many years ago are sometimes impatient with the microwave today. As the world evolves, customer needs change and grow, creating new demand for new types of products and services -- and opening up new areas of opportunity for companies to meet those needs.

 

The Economy

The economy can impact organizations in both positive and negative ways and both can be stressful. A strong economy and increasing demand for products and services will mean that companies must consider expansion that might involve the addition of staff and new facilities. These changes offer opportunities for staff, but also represent new challenges. A weak economy can create even more problems as companies find themselves needing to make difficult decisions that can impact employees' salaries and benefits and even threaten their jobs. The ability to manage both ends of the spectrum are critical for organizations that want to maintain a strong brand and strong relationships with customers as well as employees.


Growth Opportunities

Change is important in organizations to allow employees to learn new skills, explore new opportunities and exercise their creativity in ways that ultimately benefit the organization through new ideas and increased commitment. Preparing employees to deal with these changes involves an analysis of the tools and training required to help them learn new skills. Training can be provided through traditional classroom settings or, increasingly, through online learning opportunities. Importantly, organizations need to do a good job of evaluating employees' capabilities and then taking steps to fill the gaps between current skills and the skills required to respond to growth.

 

Challenging the Status Quo

Simply asking the question "Why?" can lead to new ideas and new innovations that can directly impact the bottom line. Organizations benefit from change that results in new ways of looking at customer needs, new ways of delivering customer service, new ways of strengthening customer interactions and new products that might attract new markets. New employees joining an organization are especially valuable because they can often point to areas of opportunity for improvement that those who have been long involved in the company might have overlooked. But even existing employees should be encouraged to question why things are done a certain way and look for new ways to get work done faster, better and with higher levels of quality and service.


Deborah Schembri: BA(Hons) Accty., Dip. Tax., FIA, CPA, APMI, MIM, MBA (Henley) has twenty years experience in the financial services, gaming and hospitality industries. In her various C-level and board member roles she had formulated new strategic directions and implemented the necessary changes. She has been instrumental in setting up and growing various companies. She is a Certified Public Accountant, holds a Masters in Business Administration from Henley Management College and she holds an Advanced Diploma in Retirement Provision pursued with the UK Pensions Management Institute. She is the only Maltese resident holding such a qualification in pensions. She is a Fellow Member of the Malta Institute of Accountants and the Malta Institute of Taxation, and a Member of the Malta Institute of Management, Institute of Financial Services Practitioners and an Associate Member of the Pension Management Institute UK. Deborah won Malta's Best Knowledge Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2015.  She has also been nominated and then voted as one of the four finalists for the Commonwealth Women Entrepreneur of the Year 2015. Deborah has also been awarded Runner Up of the Malta Business Woman of the Year Awards 2018.
 
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