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Small Business Tips

Beginners Guide to Change Management

How a business views and implements change is the key to a brighter future.  Change is necessary for a business to keep up with a changing world, innovations and a constantly moving market place.

A business that is prepared to adapt, implement change in terms of people, policies, processes and technology to meet consumer demands, keeping up to date with the channels of demand, is more likely to succeed than those that will only continue to work in the ways of old or become stuck in time.

People are often the biggest hurdle to change within a business.  Following the recognised change management processes to support functions and individuals involved, will lead to a smoother transition and acceptance and most importantly help reduce time spent on the downwards trajectory with a quicker transition to acceptance and implementation.

Four Key Processes

  • Preparing for the Change
  • Managing & Executing
  • Reinforcing
  • Reviewing

Preparing

The first crucial stage is to define the extent of the required change, identify the processes needed to change and the likely resistance and pitfalls.  Identify tactics to overcome them should be identified as part of this stage. In order to do so, it is important to identify how big the change is, who is affected and whether this will influence the overall success.  This step should also identify the level of communication and training required to implement the change.  If other changes are also happening, assess how they may influence implementation.

Managing & Executing

The next stage is to create a plan using the preparation details created as a base.  Map out information gathered as part of the preparation stage alongside the project plan. 

Actioning all of the strategies and tactics identified to overcome friction and resistance will help shorten the length of time spent on the downward slope of the change curve you will be creating. 

Reinforcing

It is important to continue to reinforce changes and key messages developed during the previous phase. Actively engage those involved, and ensure that new behaviours and ways of working continue.

Collect feedback and data to ensure that the changes are a meeting the targets for success. The reinforcement phase should close gaps and pockets of resistance quickly.  Praise and celebrate the successes with the people.  Recognition of achievement towards the goal is a great motivator that can aid enthusiasm to help the project reach the finishing line in a timely effective way, with support momentum maintained.

Reviewing

The final piece of the change journey is to review the successes, lessons and obstacles encountered. Develop ongoing initiatives, such as training and improvement activities and monitoring that the changes have been and remain fully embedded.

All stakeholders should be involved in the review process and learn lessons ready for the next change implementations needed.

In conclusion

Change management is more than just a trend or corporate buzzword, it is an organised, comprehensive approach designed to move an organisation and its people to a future desired state with the minimum of disruption, hurdles and opposition. 

Implementing change with your employees involved should result in a smoother, more successful implementation and be the difference between success and failure of your business. 

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