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Changing is hard. We as individuals tend to be very resistant to change. As organisations, this picture gets much worse, which is why the topic of change management for SMEs has been gaining much popularity over the last decade. Business leaders realise that if they want to have adaptable organisations, they must be ready to manage change in a structured and consistent manner.
Organisational change comes in many forms. Changes in the business’ workflow, structure, culture and technology could happen for several internal or external reasons. Maybe you want your business to be more competitive and agile. Or you could be looking to improve communications and add more value to customers. Or perhaps you’re being forced to change because the competitors are doing it, and you may fall behind if you don’t.
Whatever the case is, that’s where these best practices in Change Management for SMEs may be handy. This article will give you a better idea of what it takes to prepare your organisation for change, address resistance and ensure a smooth implementation.
Change management for SMEs is becoming such a popular topic because of the challenges involved and the risks associated with poor change management. As mentioned in the beginning, people are resistant to change. Experienced managers and specialised employees may not want to adopt a new tool because they already know so much about the one currently used.
The same happens with structural changes or cultural changes since a significant part of the team may be well used to the current structure or culture. Changes at this level could mean new responsibilities, a shift in the power balance or new work dynamics. And whoever’s happy with the current state may not want to go through the learning process again – and those people tend to have a good level of influence over coworkers. At the end of the day, if the team doesn’t adopt a proposed change, it won’t produce the desired outcome.
The risks associated with poor change management for SMEs are immense. If a company is unable to implement change, it won’t be able to innovate and adapt at an adequate pace. This means organisational resilience is directly influenced by change management.
Change may be voluntary or not, but the capacity to change has to exist. We have countless examples of global enterprises that did not adapt to a market change and failed. Kodak and Blockbuster are two examples that were unable to adapt to new markets and technologies and crumbled.
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These changes did not come overnight, but they also could’ve! Events such as wars and even the Covid 19 pandemic have affected several industries and closed millions of businesses across the globe. Organisations that were resilient and ready to embrace change were able to adapt quickly and survive amidst the crisis.
Thus, efficient change management for SMEs is simply vital. It’s crucial to get the team on board and enable the company to be resilient and adaptable. The only constant in today’s business world is change, and businesses that can’t change are doomed to fail. The following section will discuss five stages that a company should go through when implementing changes. These will help you better understand the impact you’re looking for and promote acceptance from your team!
Most change management strategies recognise that identifying what to improve creates a solid foundation for clarity, ease of execution and success.
Since most changes are made to improve a process, a technology or a result, identifying the objective and clarifying goals is crucial. This also involves selecting the resources and individuals capable of facilitating and leading the initiative.
Start by asking the following questions to gain a better understanding of your core mission:
Change evaluation attempts to analyse crucial transformations before letting those changes integrate into usual operations.
Here are a few suggestions for the evaluation stage:
These are the areas that require your attention:
After completing the previous steps, create a change management strategy and draft an expected implementation timeframe.
The change management strategy must be comprehensive to act as a roadmap defining the concrete steps your organisation will have to take to implement the change management process. This is crucial to avoid disrupting workflows and assist your team in navigating this change.
Once all key stakeholders have approved the change management strategy, it’s time to put the changes into effect. This frequently requires cross-team collaboration and, on occasion, the support of third parties such as technology suppliers, consultants or a managed service provider (MSP).
Technological changes can happen very fast and profoundly impact your organisation. They could affect your workflow, the way people interact and even the core activities of your business. Hence the importance of having a comprehensive technology strategy that will lay the foundation for business growth and prepare it for the changes you may face.
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If you are planning to refresh and update your technology, this is an excellent opportunity to think things through for a moment before implementing something new. Picking the right piece of tech and handling these transitions may be tricky if you are not being assisted by a specialist team. Get in touch, and we’ll be happy to advise on the practical steps for your next tech project. And if you need an extra pair of hands, count on us!
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