Sophie Evans - HR Professional
More often than not, the same old thinking leads to the same old results. To move forward we all need to adjust, adapt and review processes which means change is inevitable in any business that wants to be successful. Sometimes it is not the idea or the change that we fail on, it’s how we manage the launch and implementation of the change. . If you don’t have your team on board then the great idea or plans for change are at higher risk of failing. How you manage change can determine whether or not you will have a successful outcome. There are some easy steps to follow to ensure you have the whole team driving in the same direction when you try to initiate change…..
What? And don’t forget Why, Who, Where, When?
To implement change, you need to fully flesh out what it is, why you are doing it, who it impacts within your business, when and where it will occur. Change for change’s sake is a pointless and an often fruitless exercise. You need to invest some time into understanding what the change is and extrapolate that out to determine why a change is necessary or advantageous. You also need to determine who it will impact and when it will occur and where. You also need to be able to clearly articulate the desired outcome and how this will impact the department or business.
What may feel like onerous ground work can save a lot of heartache as you will be able to establish stumbling blocks and resolve problems before you go live. You will have engaged the right people and put the necessary infrastructure in place to support the new process or product and you have set yourself and your team up with a much greater chance of success.
In the past, I have seen brilliant new ideas fall over when put into practice because there was no work done to understand the what, why, who where or when.
A recent example of this was when a new manager came into a business I was supporting. The section leader had recently worked hard with both myself and the broader team to implement and roll out a really easy to use, transparent, project management system. Everything was working really well. The new manager had a passion for old-school excel spreadsheets and didn't take any time to understand the new system or the positive impact it was having on workflow. Without consulting any of representatives from any area of the business that utilised the new system that had been working well, he cancelled it and implemented an old school, manual system that took them backwards instead of forwards. The outcome was complete disengagement of all staff and a negative impact on production and project delivery, leading to unhappy clients.
While this is an extreme example, it shows the errors really clearly:
Communicate, Include, Engage, Communicate Some More
You’ve got a great concept that you think will drive new business as well as reinvigorate the spending habits of older clients. First point of call is to sell it internally and get your teams on aboard. Bring together representatives from all areas of the business that this change will affect. Give them the overview of the initiative, the potential positives and negatives and the reasons behind the change. Then open this up to the team for feedback. Communication is key here – allowing your team to provide feedback on how and what they need to do to bring this idea to life will drive a sense of ownership and subsequently they will be more engaged in making it a success. You are best to use 1% of 100 brains rather than 10% of one. You will be surprised as to what may come out of this communication process that you might not have previously considered that could save you time, money and damage to the business.
Allow ALL of the Feedback
It is crucial to fully understand all the effects the change will impose on every part of the business. If these are not addressed properly then you will not have the full support of the team and as you know, their engagement is directly linked to the success of the new plan Change will not always be greeted with the same enthusiasm or disagreement by the varying departments and personalities within your business. . It is much easier to manage these when you are aware of differing views or opposition than if you are not. The most important thing is that everyone has an opportunity to provide constructive feedback that will allow you to put in place steps that will address and minimise these concerns. You may not single-handedly be able to fix all issues that arise but these can then become side projects that are then managed by the team most impacted by the challenge. Again, this drives ownership and provides a positive response to constructive feedback. Listening to and actively responding to feedback will allow you to Be proactive rather than reactive.
Facilitate the new
This is where you really start to drill down and specify to your team/s exactly what is needed from each of them moving forward so the change is implemented successfully. You need a clear objective of what is expected from all areas in attitude, behaviour and work expectations. Establish short and long term goals as well as who is accountable for which element of the change project so it keeps moving forward. Determine how communication and updates of the roll out will occur. Will it be regular meetings, email updates, project tools such as Trello – there are so many tools available that can help keep your team focused and up to date with what is happening at any given time as you travel through the change you are making, so you should avail yourself of these and make sure that you have set up a framework to support you.
Make it Manageable
Depending on the change it does not all have to be done at once. You have all different types of personalities in your business and not everyone can handle change as easily as others. Being mindful of this will assist you in managing resistance around the ‘new’. So, if there is a large change project to manage, break it down into manageable chunks, just like any other SMART goal. Or if you have many small changes you wish to implement, take your team down the changing road, but one change at a time, for best success!
Whether you are launching a Facebook page for your business or initiating a completely new product line that requires substantial financial investment, remember to acknowledge and celebrate successes when goals are reached. The Facebook page reaches its first goal of 100 followers – shoot an email out to all involved and acknowledge the achievement. The new product comes off the line and is received enthusiastically by clients – perhaps put on a morning tea. You should feel good when change is implemented successfully and you should enjoy the moment with your team!
Many of us are overwhelmed by the level of change that is outside of our control given current world circumstances. But this shouldn’t stop you from initiating improvements or updates to your business now. How you introduce it and then follow through will determine your level of success. If you need a helping hand in driving change and engaging your team in the process, contact the HR Staff n’ Stuff team now and we can advise on how we can best support you.
The HR Staff n' Stuff team all contribute to our blogs. Enjoy the read!