11 Dec Change Management For Small Businesses
Small Business Change Management and How it Can Help You Plan 2018
“Change Management” may sound very corporate, but, if you look it the concepts behind it, they can equally be applied and used to help a small business – or even an individual – make changes. As 2018 is fast approaching, I thought it might be quite interesting and even fun to look at how we can apply a big business Change Management tool to something a lot smaller.
There are a number of change management tools and theories around but I’ve chosen to go with one by a guy called John Kotter. It’s an eight stage model which is used to help businesses transform and one that is widely accepted and used by management consultants and business psychologists. . I’m not going to tackle all eight stages in one blog post. Rather, I will break them down over at least eight posts, and talk about how you can use the concepts to help grow and transform your own business.
Kotter’s First Stage: Establish A Sense of Urgency
There are many things that can get in the way of engendering a state of urgency. You may be so busy doing the job that you can’t see that things have to change, or feel that you don’t have the capacity to do anything, that all hands have to be on the deck just to survive. Equally dangerous is the belief that you’re ok, that things are fine as they are, or that you have all the time in the world. Maybe you are just holding out to see what happens in the market, or until you’ve got a cash injection or can afford an extra member of staff.
How to Create Urgency
The truth is, unless you make change urgent, it’s not going to happen…until it happens to you and then you won’t have that vital componet: control.
What can you do to create this sense of urgency? The answer is to take a long hard look at why you need to change? Reasons could be that you are:
- Losing your competitive foothold and others are overtaking you
- Falling behind with technology and your offering to customers is being impacted
- Need to grow/make more money
- Have a vision and you want to fulfill it
- Moving from exchanging time for money to a digital work from anywhere concept
- Disappointed with the money you are currently making
- Didn’t reach your goals for 1017
Helping Your Team Understand
If you have a team and you want to get them behind you, you will also need to communicate this sense of urgency to them. What will happen if you do nothing? Might some lose their jobs? Of course, some may take this as a sign they need to look elsewhere. However, handled correctly, it is possible to get everyone on board and enthusiastic.
Change models are generally created not just to make change easier, and more likely to succeed, but also to help combat resistance and bring others on board. Planning and implementing change without having some sense of urgency may well result in a half-hearted effort, or the change being derailed part way through, especially if you haven’t made everyone aware of how important this is. If you’re a one man band, this is still a vital stage. Think about what will happen if this change doesn’t go through. You can envisage the tangible consequences, but don’t forget to also imagine how that will feel. Sometimes, we need to feel, as well as think, to really find our commitment.
How will it feel if you’re working with that client that you can’t stand? What will it be like if you’re still earning the same amount? If you haven’t achieved your goals?