Adapt or suffer – managing change is an everyday reality!

As your business grows in size, perhaps from a handful of employees to several dozen or from a home office to a commercial one, you will experience a series of radical changes. Some will be relatively easy to address, and you or your managers can manage them on your own. But others may appear quite daunting – so daunting, in fact, that you may be tempted to either ignore them or bring in a change management expert to help guide your business through the period of transition.

There are countless professionals who have been schooled in the academic theory and best practices of change management. In an attempt to manage the pressures of change, some businesses shift responsibility for managing it away from themselves and towards a dedicated change agent.

Shifting responsibility to a dedicated change agent alone doesn’t work. Yes, they can know the ins and outs of change management, but they don’t have one of the most crucial qualities for change initiatives to succeed, which is a solid, preexisting relationship with the people that the change is being sold to – your employees. That’s why the most qualified change agent will always be you and your management team.

The rate of change today is so rapid that managing is, or should be, a key management accountability. All the evidence suggests that your company will change more in the next three years than it has in the last five! Every company needs to be explicitly anticipating and adapting to change. However, the urgent so often drives out the important, and as a result, the pressures to change and adapt are ignored or recognised but simply pushed aside.

In order for companies to manage change successfully they must be aware, and communicate and sell the need to change to employees – the people who it affects and who are able to do something about it. Without their buy-in, change initiatives don’t happen, they just give the appearance they are. And because of the relationship that managers have with their people, they’re by far the best people to sell that change, and follow up on it.

Implementing change effectively also means persistently following up on it because people don’t respect what you expect, they respect what you inspect. Management must continuously follow-up and ensure that the changes it expects are being actioned…daily.

Is there a pressure for change that you’ve been ignoring? Think about involving your team and acting on it now.

Brett Morris is chief executive of The Fortune Group – transforming leadership and sales effectiveness with unique sales training and management training solutions.

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