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How to Manage your Business Through Change

The world of business requires fluidity, and leaders must always be willing to embrace change and take risks. As T.S. Eliot once said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go,” and he couldn’t have been more correct.

Businesses require change in a constantly and equally changing market, otherwise they will head for failure. But, changes and those processes associated with them must be implemented mindfully in order to be as successful as possible.

So, what steps should you take to make your journey of change as smooth as possible?

Develop a plan

Before you begin to make any business changes, make sure you have a solid plan in place. Identify the key areas of the business that need to change, and put a plan in place for its execution.

Understand the end goal

It is vital to understand what you want to achieve and the key objectives before you make any changes. Ask yourself; where is the company now? Where does the company need to be?

A leader needs to have the confidence to change and evolve and work with their team in order to succeed. Employees are a good source of front line knowledge and may have alternative suggestions, so listen to what they have to say and be willing to take feedback on board – the path must not be set in stone; you need to learn to adapt through the process of change.

Communication

Communication is critical in everyday business activities, however, it is of utmost importance to communicate clearly when going through change.

Leaders must ensure they manage and communicate with their workforce effectively through any transitions. It is inevitable that some people will be resistant, and the prospect of change will be daunting, which is why it is crucial to explain to your employees why you are making any changes and the benefits these changes will bring.

Clear communication will help to ensure that your employees are all aware of what will be taking place, and encourage them to be involved in the process. Equally employees should be given the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns (if any) throughout the process – not doing so may result in barriers to change before you even begin.

As an ongoing activity it is advised to regularly remind employees why the business is changing and be as transparent as possible throughout the process. If possible, give an opportunity for individuals to become navigators by involving them in decision making and celebrate any success.

Change in phases

In some cases making changes in small phases is advisable; such an approach mean any plans can be completed in a much more manageable way. Delivering change in phases also leaves room for a review after each phase.

You may wish to test out a phase on a group of employees before any changes are finalised. By letting a pilot group of employees work together to test and improve the process, you can ensure that the change will be as successful as possible.

Evaluate and review change

Monitor and report on objectives throughout the process in order to ascertain what is successful and what needs improvement. Such analysis makes it easier to inform employees of your progress, the results, and if the change has met its objectives. Having clear actuals against targets provides insight to see what you can improve on for future developments.

Overall, change is always a daunting aspect of business, however it is not impossible. Ensure you put these steps in place and you should be able to make your desired changes with ease.

What are your top tips for managing change? Tweet us at @kingstonsmith and join the conversation.