Why Are Businesses Called for Change & How Best to Face It?
In order to successfully navigate through changes in your business, you need to have a change management plan in place.
This article will highlight the different areas of change that businesses face, and provide tips on how to manage change successfully.
One of the most important aspects of change management is ensuring that all stakeholders and your staff are on board with the changes that are being made.
When it comes to implementing a new ERP system or integrated systems like Xero and its add-ons, it’s crucial to make sure that everyone involved understands why these changes are happening and what benefits they will bring to the company.
With technological advancements and mergers & acquisitions at an all-time high across the software industry, businesses must adapt and evolve at a much faster pace to keep in line with these changes and in order to stay ahead of the competition. Businesses must be able to transition from existing processes and management structures as quickly and when needed to stay on par with the ever-evolving industrial requirements and competition.
Re-thinking, re-structuring & implementing methods to improve business processes and management structures to increase efficiency & productivity – whilst running the business day to day – is no easy task.
But, what’s harder is to familiarise ourselves & adapt to these changes since change requires treading into unknown territory, something that most of us are not the most comfortable doing.
Human nature is such that most of us create comfort zones where we perform tasks that are more often than less done habitually, and moving away from it means taking risks as well as breaking the cycle and performing unfamiliar tasks.
What Aspects May Be Holding You Back from Adapting & Facing Change in Your Business?
The idea of changing to new processes or adapting new techniques can be scary for businesses because it is often associated with the unknown. There are numerous reasons why people may resist such change.
Let’s take a brief look at a few of them.
- Fear of choosing the wrong systems and the system not meeting its requirements
- Afraid of failed implementation or data loss during transitioning.
- The fear of being unable to see through the implementation and transition.
- Uncertainty of the systems being sold off.
- Doubtful of the support you will receive from the software provider in the long term & one’s fear of not knowing everything.
- Uncertainty of how well or if at all your staff will utilise the system or the level of cooperation from them & other stakeholders (resistance).
- Fear of losing control.
You may also feel overwhelmed by the current pain points you are experiencing, compelling you to change.
For instance you may be;
- Finding yourself spending huge amounts of resources performing menial tasks.
- Duplicating entries, encountering human errors & generating inaccurate data.
- Uncertain if you are over-stocking or under-stocking resulting in either excessive stocks or inability to cater to consumer demands due to the lack of stocks
- Scared to grow the company anymore because you don’t feel in control of the current situation
- Afraid of the lack of control that comes with departmental growth and find yourself unable to be proactive about addressing issues due to the unavailability of real-time data & reporting
- Overwhelmed with the enormous number of commitments, you find yourself struggling to prioritise tasks and fear ending up neglecting the important ones that need your attention the most.
- Experiencing a lack of communication among departments and different systems & management structures currently in place not responding to each other always leaves your organisation in a chaotic state.
- Worst of all you may feel the chaos within your business is affecting your brand image and you run the risk of losing customers.
With all these conflicts running through your mind, you find yourself debating as to what the best approach could be.
You see, all your conflicts are quite normal and understandable cause your mind focuses on your needs and the fears that keep you from finding a solution. What you are missing, however, is the approach you need to minimise the risks of failure, which will help you face the changes in your business.
Best Practices in Developing a Change Management Process to Help Face Changes in Your Business.
Having a change management process ensures easy transition & adaptation to changes that occur within the business.
However, businesses with an agile approach may find this easier than businesses with strictly laid out processes with little to no flexibility or room for change.
There is no rule or go-to plan to develop a change management process.
However, the following best practices will help you structure one that suits your business.
These best practices have been categorised and specified under several phases for clarity and ease.
An agile change management process will help you identify, strategise and implement future changes to specific arrears, making it easier for your business and staff to adapt & face them.
Phase 01 – Assessment, Identification & Goal Setting
Understanding your business’s current state
In order to plan your way forward, you need to understand the current position of your business. What processes you follow, management structures and decision-making approaches in place will help you get a clear overall understanding of how your business functions.
This will lay the groundwork for the steps to come.
Identify what changes you need to make & why?
Once you have mapped out your current processes and structures, you can set on to identifying the tasks and functions that are either dysfunctional or lack efficiency and therefore need improvement.
Analyse how these changes will affect each group of stakeholders in your business (Customers, employees, investors & shareholders etc.)
Once these changes have been identified and mapped, analyse and list out how changing these would impact each group of stakeholders.
Setting & Defining Goals
Before initiating any changes, you need to clearly identify the end goal you envision achieving through these changes.
Thereafter, carefully break down the end goal into milestones while allocating time frames for each milestone.
This process enables you to track your progress, identify any roadblocks or obstacles you may encounter, and trace any issues to an exact stage instead of restarting from scratch.
Phase 02 – Understand Roles, Communicate & Make-Room for Setbacks.& Resistance
Define Roles & Divide Responsibility
Initiating changes within your business is no easy task and cannot be achieved alone. The sooner you realise this, the more manageable and less stressful the process will be.
Divide and conquer is a sensible approach; thus, defining roles and delegating tasks may help experience a smoother transition, where you alone need not overlook every aspect.
Rolling out significant changes requires constant communication among responsible persons, and transparency is of utmost importance to ensure all aspects are in line.
Maintain clear communication lines and create environments where progress, setbacks & failure are shared openly, enabling proper tracking and identifying arrears for improvement accurately.
Make Room for Setbacks.& Resistance
As with everything in life, setbacks or failures are inevitable. No matter the function, we run a risk of loss.
However, preparing for such predicaments will allow you to come to terms with the situation and plan your comeback.
And since the process follows a plan, these issues are more often easier to rectify.
Another potential issue that may arise is resistance to change. This is primarily displayed by the more senior staff and requires coaching and reassurance.
Phase 03 – Benchmark & Monitor
Although you need not replicate what your competitors are doing, it is essential to be attentive to their practices and process and industrial updates that may occur while you are implementing change.
Keep in mind the whole purpose of initiating change is to maintain a competitive edge by responding to industrial changes and requirements.
Monitoring progress on an ongoing basis helps you minimise negative impacts where you may experience minor setbacks.
As you may have realised by now, managing change is not a matter of wanting change or knowing the end goal you intend to achieve.
It is a complex process that needs mapping out to ensure minimum disruption to the business during the transition as well as in the event of any setbacks or failures.
Understand that all these phases, steps & milestones come with a risk of failing. However, change cannot be negotiated, and to stay on par with competitors, it is a necessity. Almost like an elixir for growth, and managing change helps you and your staff face it and move forward.
So What Next?
In conclusion, change is something we cannot escape, and the ability to change with the times is what separates a successful business from one that soon becomes obsolete.
Change can be difficult and costly, especially if you don’t have an expert partner to help you not make costly mistakes in the process of trying to find a solution.
It is essential to maintain a competitive edge and survive in an ever-changing market. Proper change management is key to ensuring a smooth transition with as little disruption to the business as possible.
If you are looking for advice from an experienced team who help people move to ERP Systems like Odoo every day of the year, or experts in Xero and the add-on ecosystem for any product-selling business, then please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.