Tips for effective change management

‘Change’ is often a word that makes business owners and their employees shudder. But this doesn’t have to be the case; organisational change, if managed strategically and effectively, can be an enormously beneficial process for a business, allowing it to improve productivity and work flow, diversify, and foster more transparent lines of communication.

 

Despite the many growth opportunities that change can present to an organisation, some business owners don’t possess the acumen needed to navigate change in a positive way – a deficiency that can sometimes function to destabilise their staff, clients and business.

 

In light of such, here are two key concepts that should always be factored into any change management strategy.

 

Lead, don’t follow

 

One of the key mistakes that many businesses make is that they don’t see the need for change coming until it’s too late. In such instances, businesses are forced to approach change in a reactive rather than proactive way – something which can severely inhibit their ability to manage change towards positive outcomes.

 

As such, it is important to anticipate the need for change sooner rather than later. To this end, you should consistently examine your short- medium- and long-term business goals in order to pinpoint areas where change may be required.

 

It is also important to keep a close eye on what other businesses are doing, not just within your industry but in other industries as well; being able to identify market and industry trends early on can enable you to stay ahead of your competitors and adapt your services to ensure that they remain relevant. If you’re not – however, consistently looking at what’s going on within your industry, you likely won’t see the impetus for change coming at all.

 

Communicate how and why

 

The best way to ensure that your stakeholders do not resist change is to clearly communicate why change is needed and how it is going to be executed. It is natural for humans to be unsettled by the prospect of change and, as such, it is always a smart move to paint a very clear picture of what lies ahead.

 

The first step should always be to communicate to stakeholders the reason(s) behind the proposed change(s). This may involve explaining the potential benefits of the change(s), demonstrating how the business not changing could have negative impacts, and providing examples of how businesses have changed in the past to positive effect. 

 

Once you’ve clearly justified the change, the next step is to crystalise your vision for the future. This will require you to communicate a tangible plan for implementation of the change. This may entail you providing information such as proposed timelines, costs, structural and service changes, revised job descriptions and new business targets.

 

At the end of the day, change is inevitable; you simply can’t maintain competitiveness in today’s marketplace if you’re unable to adapt and evolve with the times. And whilst change can sometimes be worrying and/or destabilising, if approached in a proactive and communicative way, it can present some truly valuable opportunities for business growth and development.  

Posted by George Tarbey on 02/11/2012 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

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