Change is inevitable but not always welcome. New and disruptive businesses are constantly entering the market and causing havoc As a recent example you have Uber vs Taxis – Uber has faced protests from traditional cabbies and taxi companies, to the point that their licence to operate has been withdrawn by several city administrations around the world. The reality is that change is inevitable and there is little that can be done to stop it once the wheels have been put in motion.
All you can do as a business in this case is innovate and change, as it becomes a toss-up between to innovate or to die. To illustrate this point, one only has to think about how the only surviving company from the 1900 Fortune 500 still working in the same industry is Ford. The other remaining thirteen still exist because their scope has evolved and changed and all the others have disappeared over time. This says a lot.
As you can see by the points illustrated above, then to innovate and change is vital but the human being is naturally averse to change. People naturally seek stability and security, so to tell them to change their ways can be a challenge. To make the process easier and smoother, there are a few things that can be taken into consideration. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it should give you some food for thought:
– Include all parties in the change discussion.
– Ask for their ideas and suggestions and implement them as part of the strategy.
– Be open and honest about the reasons as to why change is needed.
– Communicate clearly the objectives for change.
– Design processes that don’t allow people to go back to ‘their old ways’.
– Focus on the positive aspects of the change as this will be more motivating.
– Be flexible, by designing processes that will evolve gradually instead of making a clean cut. This will help people slowly assimilate new behaviours.
As mentioned , these are only a few starting points on how to introduce and manage change in your business. What else would you suggest?