Innovation is purposed to improve business performance as well as the
bottom line, else there is no justification for it. Every kind of change has its own implementation
challenges and can increase the discomfort of stakeholders – employees,
customers, even suppliers. But, post-Covid-19, change to a new normal is
Whatever the type of changes your organization need make
– developmental, transitional, or transformational – it is
important to explain your rationale for the changes to all stakeholders, in order
to minimize the likely unsettling effects of the disruption. Here are some strategies to engage for a smooth
change.How you manage the process will
determine if change is intimidating, exciting, or rewarding for staff and
customers alike. When you communicate the reasons and benefits of your
proposal, describe the process, and provide regular updates, you create a
positive environment for it. Your team understands the reasons for change. Inadvertently,
you cultivate a team that thrives on change. Develop a communication plan whichinvolves
your staff inplanning,
decision-making, and the whole process.
Devise communication strategies such as change
planning sessions, information-dissemination meetings, a regular e-newsletter
on the change process, and a wall chart that explainsthe key issues as well asstages and milestones of the change process. You may
schedule a series of briefings and staff conversations designed to capture their
input on specific aspects of the change process, and update them on progress
to involve your supervisors and managers – your leadership team – in communicating
the change initiative.
When you enlist
the support of respected supervisors, they will play an important role in
keeping staff informed, identifying, and addressing any concerns, and talking
through issues raised by individual affected staff.
Establish ‘non-negotiable’ features of the process.Before discussing and deciding changes
with your staff, determine what is negotiable and what is not, even changes you
consider essential. Your business plan should already have guidelines for this.
Successful business owners will at various times need to make some hard
decisions in command mode, without consultation or consensus.
Be open and honest.Where possible avoid being secretive about the
process, especially if it will involve loss of job, status, or pay. At all
times give stakeholders as much clear and accurate information as you can. You
do not want damaging rumours to mar the process and derail your carefully crafted
plans. No surprises. You may discover that your team members may want certainty
more than they want a say, therefore, if you cannot accept their ideas on a
certain issue, let them knowand take
time to explain why you were not able to act on certain of their suggestions.
Be realistic in setting their expectations about where they can provide input
and be open in describing the factors that influenced your final decisions on
aspects of the change, as well as expected outcomes.
Once you have identified where
the impacts of change on your internal and external customers will be, schedule
discussions with them and follow them up to see how they are dealing with the
changes once they occur. Talk to affected staff regularly
clear, consistent, and confident leader.
Your staff will take strength in your confidence in the face of
change. Make sure your reason for change and key messages about the changes are
consistent throughout the process, staying true to your motives and goals for
change and communicating them with confidence every time. Celebrate milestones
along the journey of change. Your strong leadership, and steps to
maintain staff motivation, will help your team work together to assure the
change impacts the business positively.