Successfully Introducing Change into Business
Change is always confronting! When we are asked or forced to change we tend to face the abyss of uncertainty and can feel overwhelmed, daunted or just plain scared. In a work place, we are also surrounded by our peers and often have ownership to our professions, training and positions, so when faced with these uncomfortable feelings, staff, managers and business owners can react in ways that block or sabotage change. These reactions may be completely or at least partially unconscious, and people often do not understand why they feel or react the ways they do when confronted with change.
These are important factors to consider when a business needs to open to change in a unpredictable economic market. Currently, technology is expanding at enormous speeds, the very rules and processes of the cyber-world are fundamentally shifting, social media is becoming central to business marketing, training is constantly being updated and legal requirements are increasing. All of these factors are driving change in business and they are moving faster as time goes by. These shifts in the market and in the world in general, can even result in businesses needing to change their fundamental business structures. So how do we approach the topic of change with business owners, managers and their staff?
Organisational change is a field of research and practice that has shown us the complexities and challenges that can occur as organisations are asked to change. Some of the learnings include:
- Appropriately involve staff from all levels of the organisation in decision making about the changes
- Be transparent (i.e. open and accountable to all owners, management and staff about why the change is needed, how it will be implemented and the processes for feedback)
- Listen to the blocks or barriers to implementing the change and facilitated healthy discussion about how to over come the blocks
- Equip owners, managers and staff to become experts in the areas of those changes
- As change occurs in the business, gradually step out and hand over ownership of those changes to the owner, managers and staff.
These are a few tips for introducing change into organisations and businesses, however, there can be many challenges along the way. For example, people in business may be experiencing high levels of stress before the idea of change came into play. Therefore they may need stress reduction along side the methods of implementing change into the business. Other people may feel threatened at the idea of change and may need reassurance and honesty. Trust is vital as change is implemented. Another issue is that people may lack skills or fear gaining new skills such as information technology skills. These people may require extra assistance and reassurance as they learn new skills. Finally, there may also be power and ownership issues that emerge through a change process. These people often require open, honest conversations about what is happening and assistance to refocus on the goal for the great good of everyone, including themselves. In any of these situations the issues may escalate and therapeutic assistance for individuals or groups of people may be required.
In a nutshell, change can be embraced in business if the people who make up the business are given adequate support, training and ownership of the change process. It is often far from easy and staff may require individual counselling throughout the process. However, in today’s changing economy successfully embracing change is essential. It is far more likely that change is successful if it is consciously created rather than being forced upon the business by circumstances down the track.
For further information about change processes in business contact Vanessa 0n 0424507101