Understanding change

At some stage, planning for the future will involve change. Managing change can be challenging for individuals and the business. If change is not handled well, relationships can be harmed and current and future business performance can suffer.

Implementing effective change

Understanding these four key steps will help to successfully implement change:

  1. Pressure for change – recognition that the current situation needs to change and commitment from the key people is an essential first step. There must be pressure for change – a driving force. Ongoing commitment and motivation from individuals is essential if effective planning and implementation of change is to occur.
  2. A clear shared goal – involving the individuals who will be impacted by the change in the planning can improve the chances of success. Developing a shared goal for the future (for the business and for each of the individuals in it) is essential. Research has shown that change is a major cause of stress, and it is a fear of the unknown that raises stress levels. Maintaining a goal focus (for the business and for each of the individuals in it) is a great way to reduce stress and provide motivation.
  3. Capacity for change – capacity means having access to the resources that are needed to successfully develop and implement the plan for the future. Key human resources are skills, information, creativity, intuition, ideas and instincts necessary for planning and implementing change. Sufficient financial resources are needed to create and then successfully implement the plan. Bringing in a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ from outside the business (such as accountants, consultants, solicitor or financial planners) can increase capacity.
  4. Implementing change – having got steps 1 to 3 in place, future decisions can be documented and then implemented. Keeping up momentum is important and implementing a PLAN – DO – CHECK – ACT approach can help maintain the effectiveness of the change. Good monitoring and analysis of data is essential to make sure the change is working. Keeping the individuals involved, informed of progress is also important.

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