Paper Planes

The key steps to facilitating successful change in business

Change is now an every day facet of business. The market place is a much more volatile arena to conduct business than in the past which poses opportunities and threats to businesses. The ability to change constantly and efficiently allows firms to gain competitive advantage. Many businesses who refused to shift along with technological trends faded away and this is becoming more and more common as advances are made across all areas. A prime example being E-commerce.

The question is: How do businesses facilitate change when it is necessary?

1. Create Urgency: You must communicate clearly the immediate need for change to occur within your business and explain why it is necessary. This will get the change off to a quick and efficient start as employees know what is required of them and have a time frame to work within. Do not under sell the need for change as this can result in the wrong attitude being adopted. A positive and active mind-set is needed to instil change.

2. Create a Coalition: It is vital to get as many employees as possible on board who can act as a bridge between your management team and their subordinates. They will help guide the employees who are initially hesitant to the required change.

3. Create a Vision: It is helpful to illustrate a creative vision of where you want the business to be after the desired change and communicate this to all employees. This increases their comfort with the change and they understand more clearly why they are being asked to change. Communication of the vision and throughout the process will help iron out any issues that may arise as well as increasing employee buy-in to the sought change.

4. Empower Employees: Employees are much more respondent to change if they feel empowered to enact the change. Give employees personal responsibility for implementing certain areas of the change and get them more involved from the ground up.

5. Set Short Term Goals: Whilst the long-term aim of the business is of most importance, short-term goals allow employees to understand with clarity what they are striving towards. They can sense the change taking place over time and their comfort with change will increase with every landmark they pass. Offer incentives or rewards for reaching these landmarks in order to increase motivation to change.

My Advice:
Instil a Change Culture: Do not stop once you reach the end goal. Change should be a largely infinite goal rather than one finite objective. By instilling a culture rooted around the ability to constantly change, the business will not be as susceptible to drastic changes in the market place. Employees will be comfortable enough to adapt accordingly. Constantly seek to find ways in which you can change to benefit your business and the people within it. This will also allow you to stay one step ahead of the competition.