Change is inevitable, nothing remains constant. This year has been a year of many changes for me personally. I proposed to my fiance, I lost my father, we made some changes in our firm to better manage or be more efficient. There is nothing we can do to stop change, but we can take steps to manage those changes.
There is a whole specialty and management philosophy known as Change Management. It is usually part of project management and has to do with dealing with the aspects of implementing changes. The reasons that could be driving change can be external or internal to the firm. It can be changes in the industry or changes such as technology or the advent of social media that can create the need to change to keep up or remain relevant in the new environment.
To effectively manage change there are four steps within the process:
1) Recognizing changes in the business environment (industry, media, technology, etc.)
2) Develop adjustments to meet the companies needs
3) Communicating, training employees to the coming changes
4) Buy in from everyone in the company
There are other factors that can impact how much effort it may take to carry out change like how ingrained is the culture? Are leaders committed to the changes? Does the firm or organization have the capacity to adapt to the changes and will adapting changes bring about the desired outcomes or meet the business needs?
Successful change management will be efforts where:
1) The benefits and changes are effectively communicated to stakeholders and employees
2) Employees are provided effective education & training
3) Fears and resistance effectively countered through communication, vision and training
4) Changes are monitored for fine tuning and adjustments
While we cannot stop changes, we can take steps to better manage how changes impact our small businesses.