Checklist for Successful Change

by Michelle Salater on February 17, 2012


At some point, most small business owners will decide they’re ready for change. Whether that change involves an overhaul of your online marketing strategy or a shift in the larger purpose of your business, the process of implementing change is often messy and intimidating.

But carefully planned, well-executed changes are what allow companies to thrive and grow. To make sure your next big change takes you exactly where you want to be, take the time to follow a few basic guidelines.

  • Get crystal clear on your vision for your business. In order to determine what changes you need to make, it’s essential to know exactly what you want and where you want to be—and in what timeframe. Without specificity on these indicators, you’ll have trouble determining what kinds of changes you need to make, and your team will likely feel frustrated and confused. Without clarity of vision from the get-go, even the most positive changes can turn into nightmares.
  • Communicate your vision. It’s not fair to anyone on your team to assume they’ll just “trust you” about what you want them to do. In order to ensure that everyone is on the same page, give all affected parties (team members, clients, your spouse, etc.) specific details about what changes you’re making and why you’re making them. When your support staff is aligned with your vision, they’ll be better able to help you get there as efficiently and painlessly as possible.
  • Train and support your team. People often fear change because they fear the unknown. To keep your team focused and energized to do the work you need them to do, offer them ample training for any new duties you assign them, and support them as they learn their new tasks. Your ongoing support will help your staff understand that the changes will benefit everyone and that you aren’t trying to “elbow out” anyone.
  • Be patient and tenacious. Even when it’s well planned, change can be difficult. Transitions are often awkward because they introduce new challenges and unforeseen complications that you have to deal with along the way. To keep yourself on track, review your initial plans for the changes you initiated and be patient with yourself and your team. Remember, you’re in this for the long haul.

Don’t Change for the Sake of Change

One last word of caution: if you’re itching for a change, make sure you’re very clear about your reasons for wanting change and the goals you plan to achieve by implementing changes. Change for its own sake can lead to frustration among your team, confusion among your clients, and unneeded stress for you.

 What do you love (or hate) most about change?

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