Eight Things to Consider when Creating Change in your Business
Here are 8 keys to keep in mind when planning, communicating, implementing and creating change…
1. There is always more than one way.
Change is often uncomfortable, and adapting to change is usually difficult and sometimes messy. Why, you ask? Simple. Changes are easy to list in a plan and display to your staff, but old habits die hard. So how do you overcome the resistance to your planned changes? Gather perspectives from colleagues, mentors and your employees and adapt the sensible approaches into your change plan.
2. Lay out what specifically needs to change, and why.
Too many plans are heavy on the “lingo” and light on substance. What does all that mean in the day-to-day language of your business? You must make that connection for your staff. For example, what does it mean when you say “the company needs to be more pro-active?” What specific behaviors characterize a “reactive” organization? The high-level overviews are certainly needed, but to give your change plan a better chance to succeed you need to get right down to the root of what you’re trying to achieve – and describe that in your plan.
3. Know what results you want from both the change plan AND the tactics you’ll use to achieve it.
What are the strategic objectives of each key part of your change plan? What’s the “call to action” for each step? What systemic or operational changes will provide the framework for the new behaviors and desired results?
4. Empower and utilize a communication strategist right from the start.
Too often, qualified communicators are not involved in steering change until after the initial backlash is in full force. Just because someone can create a PowerPoint presentation doesn’t mean they are qualified to understand how the people in your company will respond to the change that’s being laid out, or what information they’ll need to really understand it and “buy in”. To launch your change plan effectively, ensure that you have an effective communicator on your strategy team from day one.
5. Put employees in the loop as early as possible.
There’s a real dilemma in both public and private companies where external communication is a priority and employees first hear about forthcoming changes through the “rumor mill”. Incomplete information and lack of understanding cause fear and insecurity to heighten. As a result, you waste a lot of time getting back to a place of normal productivity and confidence while many of your valued employees head for their computers to update resumes and call “help wanted” ads.
6. You didn’t get here overnight, and you won’t get there that fast either.
A change effort starts with the framing of the change initiatives and plan. Business owners almost always underestimate the length of time required to institute real change in the company. Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was your business and you can’t expect to rebuild any significant part of it that quick either. The goal is to create the most effective change possible, and that won’t happen if you rush through it. A consistent, measured approach with attention to detail is always your best bet.
7. Remember to use a variety of communication methods.
Some organizations make a huge mistake by only using one method of communication to roll out the change plan. Redundancy and repetition are a winning strategy in creating effective communication of the details of each phase and step of the plan. Use email, intranet/internal web site, memos, meetings, conference calls etc. to make sure everyone involved gets up to speed and stays there.
8. Give your staff ample opportunity to share concerns, ask questions and offer ideas.
The more people are involved in the process, the fewer you’ll have walking out the door – or worse, staying and acting as internal saboteurs. Buy-in is a critical component of effective change, so empower everyone involved to participate in the process, and make following up to update them and answer questions a top priority.
This information provides general guidelines on creating change in your company that is lasting and effective. A proper change plan must be designed to meet the specific needs of your organization and goals, and you should get individualized assistance from a communication expert if that isn’t in your current skill set.
For more information or to discuss your particular needs in this area with an
expert business coach, please contact me to schedule a complimentary initial
telephone consultation where we’ll provide a customized
12-point growth plan for your business.
Breakout Consulting, LLC
Dearborn, MI ∙ San Diego, CA