Making strategic changes for your business is inevitable. This is true for a number of reasons. Perhaps you’re looking to revamp your strategic business plan due to profitable growth. Essentially, you’ve outgrown your current strategy and need your business plan to reflect those changes. Conversely, you may need to make strategic changes because your industry has been impacted by shifts in the economy. As such, this has changed how you do business, and your existing business plan no longer makes sense. No matter the reason, the truth is this: change can be difficult. Change is about people, and people are generally hardwired to resist change.
But, here’s the good news: when making strategic changes, there are methods to help you achieve and sustain transformational changes.
Set Yourself Up For Success
There are five key factors to success that are critical to implement when rolling out strategic changes. These factors equate to actions, and should be evident in all levels of implementation.
#1: Communicate How The Changes Will Impact Your People
A prerequisite to implementing any type of transformational change is to clearly assess the impact it will have on your employees. This analysis should identify the type and scale of changes affecting each segment within the company. Included in this assessment is a protocol for how the leadership team will communicate these changes. How will these strategic changes impact employees professionally? Personally? People want to know how business transformations will affect their job, tasks and outcomes.
#2: Provide Emotional And Rational Reasons For Changes
Leaders tend to excel at building a rational case for strategic changes, but often fall short at appealing to people’s emotions. Think about it like this: if you are asking people to adopt new policies, they then need to understand the emotion behind the change so they can truly commit. Having your leadership team provide details about what will change (and what won’t), will allow them to portray not only what the changes mean for the business, but the employee personally.
#3: Ensure Your Leadership Team Models The Changes
We all know the old saying: talk the talk, and walk the walk. Changes happen from the top down. Your senior executives need to be in front of these changes, and modeling the behaviors they are asking their teams to adopt. Not only that, but holding themselves and others accountable to achieve new initiatives is critical when adopting changes.
#4: Encourage Your Team To Own Changes
Your executives may be great role models, but this doesn’t guarantee success. Why? People not only need to see changes implemented, they also need encouragement. Encouragement serves as a motivator. Emotional motivators, also known as inviting employees to share their opinions and perspectives, provides informal support and recognition that makes it easier to adopt new changes and behaviors. Your executives need to “listen” and respond with support and clarification even when the staff aren’t sure about making the change.
#5: Acknowledge Lessons Learned
Keep your commitment and focus on these transformational strategic changes for the long haul. Revisit the changes: why did you make changes? What lessons have you learned? Involving employees in this process, and sharing best practices, will help the organization reap the benefits from these changes and future ones.
We know that in today’s business environment making changes can be hard. But, if you want to succeed, these five success factors are critical to consider. Think of them like a checklist. Have you thought through the change, and have a measurement in place to ensure the change is a success? Have you completely communicated the changes? Have you built both a rational and emotional case for the changes? Is your leadership team modeling the changes? Is your team being encouraged to adopt and accelerate these changes? What are the best practices and lessons learned?
Are you in the thick of strategic planning and making some changes? Have a question and need some help? Contact us today for a free consultation! We specialize in organizational consulting for organizations and boards at all levels.