The start of a new tax year is a time when businesses look at their goals for the year ahead and decide what areas they want to grow and how to go about it.
Often businesses experience intense growth and major successes resulting in fast paced change, but when constant change becomes ‘business as usual’ it can result in overwork. This ultimately affects performance, efficiency, productivity, motivation and retention and dilutes the business focus as more innovation is introduced. Customers become confused and are no longer sure what it is your brand stands for.
So, when you are planning growth for your business in 2013 how can you introduce change successfully without burning out your employees or your business?
- Start by asking yourself what you want the changes to achieve:
- Where will this take you?
- What will the business look like when this has been successful?
- Ensure it fits in with your stated business aims, mission or objectives.
- Set a small number of goals that you can do well, rather than lots that will stretch your employees and result in anxiety.
- Review your current business activity:
- What are you doing now that is past its best?
- What will support your plans for growth?
- What do you really need to let go of?
- Ensure you have the right level of resource for new projects:
- Who will lead the project?
- Who will take a role in the project?
- Who will pick up the work that the project team will have to drop?
- If you need to recruit what skills are currently lacking?
- Can a consultant come in to lead and teach others, allowing you to train in-house staff for future change initiatives?
- Communicate the need for change to the wider workforce:
- Create an internal and external communication plan.
- Do your employees understand why change is needed – if not why would they buy into it?
- Do not expect everyone to be as passionate about this as you are. People resist change because they have doubts or fears about what this means for them, not they want to hinder progress:
- Identify potential resistors, talk to those who will be loudest, understand their concerns – they will not be the only person with that worry.
- Address the concerns raised and ensure that all employees are made aware of why this is not an issue.
- Lead the change:
- Is the management team fully committed?
- Address management concerns fully so the manager can respond to others with confidence and positivity.
- Review, respond and remain flexible:
- Highly innovative businesses end projects early if necessary. When burying projects the effort and dedication of the team is recognised, helping to reduce anxiety when a project is cancelled.
- How can you learn from this and apply it in your business?
- Remove uncertainty, let everyone know when you have reached the end of the project:
- Embed the new way – do not introduce new initiatives at this stage.
- Allow people to slow down and regenerate, they will have more energy for the next project.
- Celebrate the end of the project – take some time for reflection and to be proud of what you have achieved.
- Update any changes to terms and conditions in employee handbooks and contracts to ensure you are legally compliant and not left commercially exposed.
If you are planning changes in your business over the coming 12 months take time to plan how to engage your workforce fully for the optimum effect. I wish you a prosperous 2013.
A shorter version of this article appeared in IQ business magazine, February 2013.Find out more following this link to Google+