The eight steps to implement change in your business

18th July 2017

Gavin Preston

Business Growth

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You have developed the strategy that will achieve the outcome you have set.  You are hiring the right people to take the business forward, and are developing the capability of people that work for you.  Now you need to step up and lead to take your employees through the process of change.

No matter the education, experience, intellect and skills of the people that work for you, you still need to provide leadership.  You need to establish the reasons why you are taking the proposed approach and the need for the inevitable change.

You need to get buy in and then engagement moving it from your vision to a shared vision.  Then you need to set parameters and milestones and provide encouragement and monitoring along the way whilst maintaining momentum.

You need to lead the change.

Management author John Kotter developed his eight phases of  change:

 

People are creatures of habit.  To bring about change we need to build the case for change.  A case that is both a logical argument and an emotional argument.  These are the consequences of not changing and these are the benefits we will get from the changes.

More than that, you need to build not only the case of why we must change but why we must change now. Without a sense of urgency the comfort of habit, of keep on doing the same thing and keeping on getting the same result, wins over.  No person better to apply the sense of urgency to than to yourself.

The second step as described by Kotter is to create a Guiding Coalition.  Think of this as the change project management team. They will work with you on developing a clear vision (step 3) for what the business will look like once the changes are in place.  They will put together the project plan of how you will implement the planned changes.  Once the vision and the plan are created you need to share them with the rest of the business.  You need to clearly paint the picture of what the business will look like once the change is in place and why we must change now and what’s in it for them by embracing the change.

The next stage of a successful change project is to give the project team driving the implementation the empowerment to clear any obstacles that might get in the way of successful implementation.  There is nothing better to build momentum than some early wins.  During the planning phase look for what could be quick wins that can be celebrated as an important little milestone along the path of change.

Communicate the wins to the wider business.  There will be wins and, as sure as night follows day, there will be set-backs.  Look for the learnings in the set-backs.  Consolidate what you have learnt and achieved to date and keep going.  The final step is to make the change stick.  To make the new process or working practises a part of business as usual.

Reinforce the new practises by catching people doing things right and praising them for it.  The new way of doing things needs to become ‘the way we do things around here’ and that comes through repetition. Encourage and reward whilst being on the look out for the next improvements you can make.

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