Don Porter, CEO at United Recyclers Group (URG), based in Texas, US, provides Auto Recycling World with his view on how, since the pandemic, it is apparent that adapting to the new normal is essential for the auto recycling industry to stay ahead of the game.
In January this year, who would have fathomed we would be faced with a global pandemic that would impact the lives of every man, woman, and child in the world? COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on us individually, on our communities, our businesses, our employees, and the economy. It created a new environment with a different set of rules and guidelines to be followed and forced us to adapt to an ever-changing business climate.
It is doubtful whether the environment in which we live, go to school, worship, and work will ever return to what we considered normal. The disruption that has occurred may lead to an evolution of the business world which will continue to evolve in the years to come. Businesses have been forced to adapt to new state and federal operating guidelines to protect their employees and remain in business.
The automotive recycling industry, like any other industry, will be challenged to develop new business strategies to adapt to changes in the automotive markets and vehicles. Advancements in vehicle design and technology, an ageing vehicle population (11.9 years), and the continuous momentum toward the electrification of vehicles will need to be considered in developing those new business strategies.
Our industry, our operations, and the way we do business will need to change with the environment around us. Our environment will continue to evolve and force us to meet the challenges associated with perpetual change.
We need to be resilient to deal with challenges we face, such as COVID-19. Our ability to be resilient can determine our success. In life, we experience setbacks and failures. We make errors in judgement and calculations. Being resilient means having the courage to bounce back and take risks despite adversity and initial setbacks. Common attributes of resilient people are:
- They are not paralysed by obstacles life throws in their way
- They tend to look at setbacks and failures as learning opportunities to do better
- They focus their energy more on things and situations that are within their control
- They are committed to the goals they have set for themselves and the pursuit of their dreams
Be resilient and build your company’s leadership team with personnel who have the same attributes. This is an important first step in meeting the challenges associated with developing and introducing necessary changes in your organisation’s operation.
I recently read an article, in Forbes Coaches Council, titled the “Four Strategies for Overcoming the Challenge of Change”. I hope the highlights taken from this article provides information that will help facilitate the changes you may wish to implement in your own organisation. Remember, while change can be positive, it can also manifest itself in unhappy employees and create a toxic environment.
When it comes to managing change in the workplace, learning to answer the right questions, and providing the necessary information is essential to ensuring that the stress of change is minimised and doesn’t evolve into other issues. Here are 4 key strategies that can help your team/employees understand and manage change:
- Bring Your Team into the Discussion
Part of being in management involves bringing about change, even if that change doesn’t make everyone happy. While decisions are made from the top, engage, and include your employees when possible. Take time to explain the necessity and reasoning behind the change. Give employees the opportunity to pose questions and share their concerns. This allows your employees to feel they were a part of the ultimate decision.
- Prioritise Effective Communication
Appropriate and timely communication is critical. Whether it’s through weekly meetings or a company newsletter, make sure that your employees are kept as informed as possible. Keep information about change a communal event, as private conversations run the risk of being inconsistent or building fears. Collective meetings will possibly serve to build trust.
- Be Prepared for Conflict to Erupt
Change is difficult — even when fully understood. But when change is thrust upon a person or information is somewhat opaque, the challenge is far greater. The tension it creates can quickly lead to negative or inappropriate behaviours. Work to alleviate tension and fears which may be exacerbated by disgruntled employees.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Professional Help
No matter how many strategies you implement or conversations you have, conflict caused by change may still be present and heavy in the workplace. When this occurs, having a resource for bringing things back to normal can be priceless. Whether it is a facilitator, who can get the group talking things through, or a mediator, who can address conflict that has escalated, a neutral party is capable of helping those involved identify what they need to become comfortable with the change and ready to move forward.
We need to remember change is a part of growth. It allows us to develop into more complete individuals and businesses to help or serve more people. Yet as much as we appreciate the growth, knowledge, and opportunity change affords us, it can still feel challenging and scary. To keep your management team, employees, and business, healthy, communicate openly and provide clarity. Openly share information, offer reasons, listen for concerns, and provide an explanation when needed. When you do, you and your team/employees can overcome the challenge of change.
The focus of URG’s Educational Conference, scheduled for April 2021 in Dallas, is the Challenge of Change! We hope this next conference will be an in-person conference and we will have the pleasure of seeing many of you there. We understand the many hardships auto recyclers, their employees and families have endured during 2020 and the many changes that had to be implemented. Change is constant, but how we overcome and adapt to that change that demonstrates what we are capable of. We hope in 2021 it will occur for the right reasons. Our staff at URG is here to assist you and your staff, streamline your operation and help you grow your business.
Please stay safe the rest of this year and into the next!