Businesses face change all the time, driven both by internal or external influences. Growth, innovation, redundancy, outsourcing, relocation, diversification and competition all can force change in a business.
In is important to make the necessary changes before they are forced upon you – minimising change that can impact on profitability and maximising change that creates opportunities. Most people, in particular employees, are uncomfortable with change because it interferes with their routine and exposes them to the unfamiliar.
It’s better to drive change than let change control your business. It’s also important to identify any need for change early on. Think ahead to where your business needs to be in one, three and five years’ time. What do you need to do to get there?
Decide which changes are most important and focus on the changes with the biggest potential benefits – not the easiest ones to implement.
Aim for continual smaller changes rather than a few large ones. Large changes are harder to digest and can interfere with one another, while small-scale changes are easier to manage.
Change usually involves going into unknown territory, but others will have been there before you, so seek their input and advice. Talk to business associates and learn from the experience of people who have made similar changes.
Whatever the area of change, you will need the co-operation of your employees. However, resistance from employees is often the biggest stumbling block to successful. The key to managing change successfully is to keep staff informed. Start communicating the change as early as possible, so people have time to come to terms with it.
Even small changes can backfire if they’re not handled sensitively. Consult with those affected before implementing any changes. Those involved may be able to suggest alternatives that deliver the same results more effectively or more efficiently.
Remember life in Business is about change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.
I hope these thoughts are of value as you move your organization ahead through change.
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