Five ways to effectively manage change in your business
How many businesses can you name that STILL use processes from 10 – 20 years ago, and can actually claim their current state of business is the best it’s ever been?
Change is more than just meeting the next milestone – successful change creates the smoothest transition from the current to future state, guarding your business against threats along the way.
Organisational, technological or cultural change – at all levels, involving your people, and ensuring their capability to adapt to new environments is what will make or break your success.
1. Start from the top
Change is confronting, and even the most stoic Executives can feel overwhelmed when sudden change occurs.
When introducing any change management strategy, all eyes will be on the CEO and leadership team for strength, support and direction. Starting from the top, by making sure your management board embrace the new processes with acceptance and one voice is the first step for effective change management.
2. Address the human side systematically
Any restructuring or transformation in business will create inherently emotional ‘people issues’, and dealing with this reactively will not be enough. Beginning with the leadership team, emphasise that change is necessary to build/reposition the business for future profit, and keep your staff in jobs.
If people understand the benefits of change, they are more likely to participate and see it through to its entirety, with minimal disruption to the organisation.
3. Assess the cultural landscape individually
Every business is different, and the attitudes and behaviours from top-level management will move its way down the employee line. When implementing any kind of change strategy, it is vital that companies assess their workplace culture, and try to proactively define issues, problems, and conflicts before it’s too late.
People are the most important part of business; so ensuring they understand the significance of any change strategy is always the priority.
4. Communicate the message
Too often (more than we care to admit), change leaders make the mistake of assuming everyone understands the issues facing a business, or feel as driven for change as they do. Especially when financials are involved, this is a high level issue that others do not understand. The best change programs reinforce core messages through regular, timely advice that is both inspirational and practicable, with all levels of employee involved from inception to implementation.
5. Prepare for the unexpected
No change program goes completely according to plan, especially when people are involved. Reactions can happen in anyway depending on personality, and that is nothing you can control as an employer.
Effectively managing change requires continual reassessment of its impact and the future ability/willingness to adopt the next wave of transformation.
From Fear to Fortune, read Tom Kelly’s experience with change management
Read the “From Fear to Fortune: Lessons from Leveraging the Cloud white paper, by Tom Kelly, Managing Director of T>Edward Inc.
As a past CFO and CIO, Tom has helped implement cloud change at more than 25 companies, and shares real world examples of how some of these businesses managed to change with minimal impact.