Managing change in your business need not be messy

Managing change in your business need not be messy

“If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.” – Jack Dixon

Are you struggling to wake up 30 minutes earlier than you have been waking up all your life? Trying to take your dog for an evening walk, something you’ve never done?

Trying to move to a new ERP System? If yes, then worry not, you are one among the many millions of people who are going through the turmoil of change. If change management is not part of your life or your business’s growth strategy, you are walking the wrong path.

To remain relevant as leaders or as a business, we need to constantly manage change, re-evaluate ourselves, our products, services, business model, the impact we have on our clients, our employees and even the community at large.

But, most of us prefer or worse accept the way things are happening and stay in our comfort zone, either avoiding to change or postponing the change. As humans, we fear the unknown, it is always uncomfortable. We assume change is messy.

Workplaces are changing, their role and nature are becoming increasingly dynamic. That makes it even more important for you to brace up yourself and your employees to be prepared to manage change more effectively.

This means workplaces, work management, work processes and work styles have to undergo change, by whatever name you choose to call it —re-engineering, rightsizing, restructuring, or turnaround.

Not everyone in the workplace will accept changes without negativity. It is your leadership and preparedness to handle such change that will pave the way out and to get everyone on board.

If you take a look at successful businesses and understand their strategies, you will see that they have paid a great deal of attention to change management, which is why driving profitability consistently comes easily to them.

We have a few tips that will ensure that this process is not a burden for you:

Recognise that change is constant

Life teaches us naturally to change, it’s just that we need to recognise the change. Imagine how the first born child adapts to change when the subsequent ones arrive and learn to share the toys, the love, the attention that was all theirs (albeit a few quarrels and complaints).

Our careers and jobs and business are no different. Recognising that change is constant helps us be more prepared to manage it.

Wise men have always quoted that “the more we understand that change will happen, the less upset and surprised we will be when we encounter that change”

Understand the change

The main obstacle to change is the fear of the unknown. Why not deal with the demon by understanding it. Make an attempt to understand what drives the change and what drives people to change.

Recognise the patterns, the movements and the situations. This understanding gives you a direction to deal with the change itself more comfortably.

Get rid of bad choices and keep the good ones

Whether it is people or habits, you must keep the bad influences away. Certain people can demoralise you and stop you from changing and just pull you down.

Some of your negative habits can fuel this. Eliminating them as you handle change will increase your chances of winning over the change.

Be optimistic and positive

Do not worry about the things you would have to handle as part of the change. Instead look at the change as an opportunity to pick a new skill or dust your skill out or simply put to use the years of experience you amassed. Encourage your team also to constantly keep refreshing their skills.

Frame the big picture in your mind

Change can be scary if you look at it from in its narrow perspective. Look for the big picture, look for what good it can do for you in the long run and in the larger perspective.

Frame that in your mind and adapt it to manage change. Experts say that change management must become a part of your corporate culture for it to be smooth.

The first step is the most difficult one, but with courage, patience and persistence, you can avoid the mess and reap the benefits.

Mr Bharatam is the founder and chief mentor of Kuza Biashara Limited, a capacity building organisation coaching youth and SME owners in Kenya. He also chairs Entrepreneurs’ Organisation for Africa. & via twitter @Sbharatam

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