Ever heard the expression “time is money”? Well, it’s never more true than when it comes to making changes to your business.
While change is not something that most people embrace quickly or open-heartedly, if it’s done too cautiously it can flatten revenues, eat profits and lead to business failure. This is particularly true for small businesses where the resources are limited and the margin for error is slim.
Make a Plan and Stick to It
Consider the effect of a slow change on a software company whose owner is a lead software developer. In analyzing the business, he decides it is best to focus solely on being ‘the boss’ and letting go of his developing responsibilities.
While this may be a wise business decision, if it isn’t carried out swiftly and convincingly, product releases could be delayed for more than a year, upset customers could flee to competitors and business can come to a halt.
The key is to have a plan and stick to it. If the same business committed to the decision for a change, made a timeline, and communicated the plan to the entire team, there would be little to no confusion about who was responsible for what and when it was to be delivered.
Communicate Your Change Plan
Adopting some guiding principles will help to make quick changes easy and effective. Always carry the attitude that even massive change should happen quickly and across all aspects of the business. Specify and require clearly defined results, but leave execution details to those doing the executing. Adopt performance-related bonuses and pay structures.
Having a clearly laid out transition will give you clear performance expectations.
Most importantly, communicate the changes and the expected timeframe. A communications plan is critical and should be a high priority of any change plan. Use newsletters, management speeches, intranets, regular meetings, bulletin boards, signs and key team members to convey to the entire team and your customers what is going on and when.
Break it Down into Smaller Pieces
While no one speed of change can fit every organization, it is important to assess how nimble your organization is and how readily it can change.
When taking on a massive restructuring of an organization or shift in direction, remember to break down the goals and objectives into smaller pieces. Not only will it give your team a smooth transition and realistic performance objectives, but a few small successes and results help build more enthusiasm for the rest of the planned changes.
Remember, the longer disruption goes on, the more costly it is to your business. By clearly defining the outcomes and the strategy for achieving them, you save yourself and your team a lot of headache and ultimately, save your business money.