Monday, April 29, 2013

Managing change in the day to day

Change is a part of life in the fashion industry.  In my previous post (link) I talked about three types of change.  Today I’m talking about strategies to deal with change.

How could you minimize change, even indecisive change? It may seem impossible but even as a young designer, planner, product manager or merchant but there are things you can do to help minimize change. Think about how you would answer these questions. What would make your boss agreeable to waiting on changes until after a major group presentation? What value does s/he get when you make one round of changes rather than several? What kind of input can you get on your line plan prior to putting pen to paper? Who is final decision maker? How is your relationship with that person? How can you better understand what s/he wants before you go too far down the road? How can you integrate your value into what your superiors expect? How well do you know your customer? How closely do you work with your cross-functional partners?

When you become that middle manager or even senior leader, what can you do to minimize change? How have you communicated your vision to those on your team? What kind of direction has the team heard from you? What are the ways you can tell they are clear on your vision? What are the meetings or check points you have in place to help the team move forward in a reasonable time frame? How does the timing of those meetings impact their development or buying cycle? How open are you to their input rather than holding strictly to your vision? How well do you understand what the customer wants? What value am I adding with changes I would like to make?

I encourage all who work in the fashion industry to ask those hard questions. Minimizing change can have significant positive tangible and intangible results. If you take time out of the calendar for multiple rounds of changes you could shorten the product life cycle, have better relationships with vendors, and know more about what the consumer wants thereby increasing both profits and revenue.  Who doesn’t want that? (If you answered ”Me”, you should start looking for a new job!)

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