Dealing With Change in Your Business

Change is inevitable.   With the rapid changes in technology and continued competition for natural and business resources, as a small business owner, you have to up your change strategy.   It’s not a choice, its a prerequisite to success.   With some prep work, you can introduce change and garner support with a much higher likelihood of growth and success.   I know that change is not easy for anyone – but the saying – “keep doing the same thing and you get the same results” reminds us that we need to continue to refine our businesses as time and trends change.   Let’s look at some ways to make dealing with change … instead of a burden.


Begin by defining the situation and why change is necessary.   Make sure your plan is focused toward the results you are hoping to obtain.  It’s important to keep it simple and significant.     Consider the employee’s point of view and build the answer to “what’s in it for me” into your communication.   Be present – clear your calendar.  Being present at the office or job site and make yourself available for questions or to discuss ideas and actions with your team.


Get organized – Be sure to have your ducks in a row.  Have the buy in from your managers, advisors and outside financial and corporation partners.  Be an “open book”.    Use the planning process to help outline what changes you are going to initiate.   Many business leaders invite a group of employees in for an “appreciative survey”.   Getting information and intel from all levels of your organization help you make better decisions.  Make sure to document your plan and have room for slight tweaks along the way.   Don’t forget to build in measurements for success.


Be consistent – In times of change, consistency is important.  If you do your homework, and prepare in advance when introducing changes into the workplace, you are more likely to succeed with little pushback.   There may be barriers or obstacles along the way but don’t allow them to detour you too far from your goal.    Remember the problem solving and decision-making process I have written about in the past?   Now would be the time to dust it off and put it to use.


Lastly, Communicate the change clearly.   Consider the best method of sharing the information with the organization.  Choose words that are appropriate for the knowledge level and understanding of those receiving the information.   Start with the “why” and give solid statistical information.   End with the assurance that all is well and that by working together the change will bring bigger and better results (for ALL).  Be open and compassionate.  Take questions and find answers if you don’t have them right at hand.  Follow up with company-wide communications on progress and successes.


If you want to take your business to the next level – initiate a change strategy.   Dust off your old issues of Southwest Trees & Turf and put those business management tools to work for you.  They are all in there.  They may not seem simple but they are do-able and definitely are tried and true tools for continued growth and success.


Kotter’s 8 Steps for Leading Organizational Change

  1. Establish a sense of urgency
    1. Create a compelling reason why change is needed
  2. Create a guiding Coalition
    1. Cross functional – cross power team to lead change
  3. Develop a Vision or Strategy
    1. Plan to guide process
  4. Communicate Vision
    1. Create Consistent Communication Strategy
  5. Empower broad based action
    1. Eliminate barriers
    2. Use Target elements to transform
    3. Encourage risk taking and creativity
  6. Generate short term wins
    1. Plan for and create
    2. Reward and Acknowledge
  7. Consolidate Gains to produce more change.
    1. Use Credibility from wins
    2. Create cascade – bring in people
    3. Attempt to reinvigorate process
  8. Anchor new approaches in the culture
    1. Highlight connections
    2. Methods for development