The Times They are a-Changin’

Are you managing change in your business or are you Leading change?

There is a difference. You can manage systems and processes, but you have to lead your key stakeholders.

Any change in your business constitutes some type of transition: decreased revenue, increased sales and revenues, introduction of new products, staffing changes – these are just a few examples where transitions may be taking place.

How you lead change depends on your style, your current communication channels and your ability to communicate change. William Bridges, well known author and expert on leading change says that change is not difficult – it’s the transition stage that most people find challenging. Moving from the known to the unknown creates an imbalance that throws most people off their secure footing. As a leader in your business you want to ask yourself:

  • Is this a planned change, and if so – Have I identified a compelling reason for the change?
  • Am I communicating clearly about the changes that are happening in the business?
  • Do suppliers, staff, customers, all stakeholders know about the change?
  • Are timelines and reporting structures outlined in your change strategy?
  • Am I fully aware of staff concerns regarding these changes?
  • Are rumours managed before they get entrenched as truth?

It takes a great deal of courage for a business owner to lead change effectively. Ultimately it boils down to communication skills and strategy. You can hone your communication skills by starting with asking courageous questions of your stakeholders – and be willing to hear the answers. You can develop your change strategy by keeping your goals and core values and customer expectations in clear sight.

These two activities- honing your communication skills by asking questions and developing a strategy will help you to effectively lead change.

Dawn McCooey

Dawn McCooey is the Skills Development Manager for Women’s Enterprise Centre, and is based in the Victoria office. Dawn has worked in the adult training and development field for over 20 years. As owner of a career consulting company for over 18 years, Dawn managed up to 32 employees in three offices in Victoria and was voted “Best Boss in Victoria.” Her book “Keeping Good Employees On Board” was an bestseller in 2010. Dawn was also the HR expert on the Reality TV Show “The Hard Way.”

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