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Lead Your Skin Care Facility Through Major Change

By: Danita Johnson Hughes, PhD
Posted: December 1, 2011, from the December 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

These days, it seems that the words “business” and “change” go hand-in-hand. From dealing with regulatory changes and economic shifts to responding to new client demands and emerging technologies, sudden and externally mandated changes affect skin care facilities of all sizes. Change under external circumstances is scary because you often don’t know if the changes you’re making are going to work. The fact is, embracing any type of externally motivated change requires both courage and planning. Following are some suggestions for making the change process easier and more successful.

1. Assess your spa’s current talent potential.

When dealing with externally motivated change, a good leader needs to maximize and leverage the strengths of the people within the organization. Take the time to go back and assess who you have working for you and what skill sets they have. Chances are some will have developed new skills and strengths since they were originally hired. Therefore, determine how the company can best use the people you already have to make the change your business is experiencing successful.

2. Hire people who know more than you do.

If you hire people who are strong and know more than you do, you’re going to fare better during the change process. Realize that when the spa does well, everyone looks good, not just one person. However, if the organization fails, people typically look for one person to blame—usually the leader. The only way your company can sustain its momentum during and after the change is to have strong people on board.

3. Encourage continuous learning. 

The knowledge you and your team members possess has long-term value for the facility. If you stop learning, you stop having the ability to contribute to the continued development of the spa. Learning is vital, because things change so quickly—technology changes, the industry changes and the marketplace changes. You have to keep up and know what’s state-of-the-art to stay relevant to clients. Therefore, encourage your staff to attend trade shows and seminars, read books and trade publications, stay abreast of industry news, and seek internal feedback and mentoring.

4. Hold people to their commitments. 

No change will ever be complete if people abandon their responsibilities midstream. That’s why you need to hold people accountable for their commitments. To do so, first make sure they have the skills needed to do the job. Then monitor their progress and evaluate how they are contributing to the change process. When you find that someone isn’t contributing effectively, you must be willing to confront the person and deal with the problem in a constructive way that gets the work back on track.

5. Be clear, consistent and continuous.