News : Change – Friend or Foe

It’s not always easy to predict what will happen in a commercial environment but if there’s one thing that has always and will always happen, it’s change.

Despite the inexorable nature of change, many businesses are not prepared for it and their employees often resist it, reducing the potential for positive outcomes and continuous improvement.

Successful businesses, however, not only embrace external change but actually embed proactive, positive change into their business culture, which enables them to maximise opportunities, manage risk and drive business development.
So how can you take control of change in your business and ensure that your entire team embraces it to maximise the potential for continuous improvement?
The first step is to define change and recognise its symptoms; in order to manage change you need to understand what causes it and what implications it brings to your business.

Organisations experience change for all different kinds of reasons: external forces such as market conditions, supply chain issues or technological advances can initiate change. Internal factors can also come into play, and these can include anything from implementation of new processes to a change of management team.
Many of these changes are foreseeable…some are not, but a business that has mastered change management at all levels will be better able to predict and drive change, using it to enhance the company’s performance rather than threaten its stability.

In order to take this continuous improvement approach to change rather than allowing it to become a cause for strategic drift you must not only master change as a business leader but must also tackle resistance to change throughout your organisation. While it’s human nature to be reticent about change, empowering your team at all levels to identify opportunities for positive change and then drive and deliver it will help to engender a culture where it is an integral part of positive business improvement. In this way, you can convert it from the enemy of the status quo into the catalyst for building a better business.

Developing this positive approach to change across your business will not only enable you to drive continuous improvement, it will also help to boost morale and motivation.
Why? Because an employee that feels part of something positive and can take a level of ownership for delivering change will see a greater sense of purpose in their job and will understand their role in the company’s success.

Creating that culture cannot happen of its own accord, however. Mastering change as a business means mastering change as a leadership team…and to do that you need to be able to analyse successful change, overcome resistance and lead positive change with good practice and motivation.

For your company to succeed in mastering change you need to equip yourself with the tools to lead and create a high performance culture within your organisation.  Some of this is about attitude, strategic approach and management structures; many senior leadership teams can benefit from targeted training, however, enabling them to plan for change and embed positive cultures in their organisation.

The starting point is to recognise that change is inevitable and must therefore be part of strategic planning and a constructive approach to continuous improvement. So whether you are a business leader that has recently had to overcome resistance from you team or you’re a manager that would like to understand more about your own responses to change, learning more about what you can do to enhance your company might be the first positive change you need to make here
By Mike Le Put, Director, MLP Training