As one of the stubborn traits of the human race, we have terrible trouble dealing with change. Although history and circumstance has proven we can adapt quickly and effectively when necessary, we loathe the thought of learning a new database system or navigating a new website at work.
If we’re willing to put aside our adversities to change, some really wonderful things can happen. Technology, much like the rest of the modern world, is moving much too rapidly for us to be stuck in our ways anymore.
Here’s some guidance for establishing a plan for change – whether it’s a small one (like implementing a new system) or a large one (like a merger or acquisition) – and seeing your business’s improvements to the end.
Create a sense of urgency
Although it’s near impossible getting everyone on the same page, it’s much easier to implement a change if the whole company (or the majority) really wants it. The best way to do this is to have open lines of communications from the get-go. Communicate the rationale behind the need for change, and allow other leaders and employees to share their concerns. By addressing these possible issues upfront, you’re not only easing the company into the current change, but you could be creating an environment potentially more open to future changes.
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Implement change in phases
Not every change can be introduced in smaller, bite-sized chunks. But if you can introduce your upcoming change department by department, or bit by bit, you’ll have an easier time working out the kinks, and your employees will have the adequate time to adjust to the newness. This works best for the integration of new databases or software, and also creates a safety net – if it crashes in one department, or in one level of the adaptation, the setback won’t take you all the way back to square one.
Also, each time your smaller change is successful, you and your employees will be buoyed by the success, and be able to count each stage as a short-term win.
Evaluate the change
The only way you’re going to know the impact of the change is to monitor the entire process. Not only will leaders want updates on the progress, but in the end, your employees will want to know if the effort was worth it. If your change did not have the desired effect, your reviews and reports on the merger or software overhaul will potentially be able to trace back to where a problem may have occurred or productivity began to take. The quicker you find where further work may need to be done, the quicker you can get it done.