October 22, 2014

Change In Your Small Business: Everyone Will NOT Make The Leap

So what happens when you decide to make a change in the way you handle your business? What if you choose to move toward a more customer focused marketing strategy? Or you decide to train your floor staff to actually know something about your services and products?

teamwork

Will everyone make the cut and are you prepared to deal with the fall out—i.e. retraining, repositioning, or in some cases, firing?

As you make changes in your business, six things are key to making those upgrades stick:

1) For The Greatest Impact, The CEO Needs To Champion The New Direction 

Kristin Zhivago, author of Roadmap to Revenue says,

“If the CEO isn’t speaking up for the customers, there’s nothing that anyone else can do—regardless of their position—that will turn the company into a customer-centric organization.”

Zhivago is speaking of creating a company that “sells the way your customers want to buy.” But it’s true for any aspect of your business — if the boss doesn’t believe, then you have a hard row to hoe.

2) There Must Be A Manager For The Change 

There must be someone assigned to navigate the team through the process. I don’t care how simple it seems.  Changes tend to require more focus and effort than initially expected.

3) Each Department Must Focus On One Thing At A Time 

Implementing everything at once is:

1.) Chaos waiting to break loose

2.) Overwhelm waiting to take over

3.)  In the end, you DON’T get what you want

So focus on one step at a time. Complete it, celebrate it, then move on to the next.

4) You Have To Build In The Space And Time For Ongoing Evaluation And Updates 

Whether it’s a 30 minute weekly meeting or an hour long monthly meeting, there has to be a consistent system for touching base — because people only do what you inspect. This scheduled meeting serves as that inspection. The manager knows that the CEO expects an update. The team knows that the manager expects to see progress and to hear any concerns (not excuses) that may require immediate attention.

5) Your Team Needs Time Frames And Deadlines 

Telling someone that they can get the report or results to you “whenever you can” is the same as saying never-mind. Deadlines create a sense of importance and urgency. While you don’t want overwhelming urgency in your brainstorming (because you want more creativity in that setting), you do want a sense of importance so that all that creative thought turn into a livable and scalable reality.

6) Pay Attention To Your Team 

The entire team will need to be briefed on the coming changes, involved in making them happen, and then trained and retrained. But for some it still won’t workout.  Repositioning is an option for people who believe in your mission. There may be another place in the company that works better for their skill sets.

For those who can handle the change but tend to sabotage the progress, you will have to let them leave. If their heart isn’t in it, they will rip your team apart or slow your progress down from the inside. If you don’t pay attention, you will never see it coming.

Change Is Good, If It’s Smart 

You can change because you see where your industry is headed and you want to lead your company in that direction. Or you can wait for a new reality to hit you upside the head. Either way you will have to adjust.  Being proactive just feels better.

Anybody in the middle of a shift? If so, how are you keeping the overwhelm at bay and the team focused — including you?


Leap Photo via Shutterstock

3 Comments ▼

Jamillah Warner


Jamillah Warner Jamillah Warner (Ms.J), a poet with a passion for business, is a Georgia-based writer and speaker and the Marketing Coordinator at Nobuko Solutions. She also provides marketing and communication quick tips in her getCLEAR! MicroNewsletter.

3 Reactions

  1. Change is work. Work isn’t easy. These are the realities and you make some great points on how to make the change more manageable. Great article.

  2. Thanks for the tips. I’ll keep these in mind. :)

  3. “Chaos waiting to break loose.” Nothing could be much more true.

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