Developing Your Change Agility in Your SME Business

Are you sitting comfortably? Welcome to my series of podcasts that will help you navigate those inevitable difficult events at work that are part of being a manager and Leader

Today we’re going to look at how adaptable you are to change, and how to become more adaptable. Going through change is not always easy, but it’s often necessary, so learning how to overcome any potential roadblocks to help you on your way can only be a good thing.

Change is a continuous process. A change in the law might mean that you need to provide more training for your staff, or you might need to change some work processes because they haven’t quite worked in the way you expected. As a leader or manager, you need to be reactive and proactive, and you have to have some degree of what is known as change agility.

So what is change agility? It’s the ability to notice what needs to change, being able to put the changes in place quickly, and most important of all, being able to get people on side with it.

If your business is adaptable to change, you’re far more likely to meet your goals and achieve success. And that’s what everyone wants, isn’t it?

Many people struggle with change and there can be plenty of barriers to overcome along the way. Some of these barriers are what I call blind spots; things that leaders might disregard or not consider, that can derail plans for change. Here are just some of them:

Leaders not explaining why changes are happening

Leaders might know what they need and want to achieve, but this is often not enough to convince employees that change needs to happen. You need to show that you’re making changes with a strong conviction behind them.

Focusing on the immediate, not the future

Leaders can be reactive in the way they change the direction of their businesses. They might react to new industry developments or falling profits, but they don’t look at the bigger picture. Which changes on the horizon are inevitable? Are they legal changes, or changes to technology which will impact the business? How can you assess the impact of these changes for your organisation and be prepared, so that everyone understands what’s coming? If people feel prepared for change, they’re more likely to trust that you’re considering and protecting them.

Taking a ‘wait and see’ approach

When a situation occurs that impacts your organisation, waiting to see what happens might not be the best solution. This can really damage your employees’ confidence in your leadership, and it destroys trust. A better way to deal with rapidly changing situations is to take control of what’s happening, give a considered response, and communicate with employees the whole time. Involve employees and you’ll have their backing.

Not being ready for change

You know the saying ‘if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got’, and this pretty much describes what happens if your organisation isn’t ready for change. If you aren’t ready to adapt to the changing environment, your business can really fall behind and fail to meet its goals. ‘Business as usual’ just won’t do.

Lack of communication

Introducing change successfully doesn’t just involve the people at the top of the organisation, every single employee needs to be engaged. Successful change requires you to win people’s hearts and minds, and this means answering the questions’ What are we changing?’ and ‘Why do we need to change? ‘

Ignorance of what needs to be changed

Sometimes, not even the people at the top of an organisation can’t see what needs to be changed. This is why good communication should exist at all levels of a business, so any issues that arise can be addressed as early as possible.

So now you’re aware of the potential pitfalls, how can you become more adaptable to change?

See change as an opportunity, not a threat

Change is not always a bad thing. Think about what change could offer you. Maybe you can get rid of an outdated or laborious way of working, or maybe you can invest in training for your employees that enables you to offer another service to customers and clients.

Think about the impression you might be giving

As the leader, you set the tone for how change is received in your organisation. If you feel negative or stressed about the prospect of change, you can’t expect other people to feel good about it. Even if it doesn’t run smoothly, think of this as a lesson learned, and surround yourself with valuable support.

Take control

This sounds simple, and it pretty much is. Look at what you can take control of and just do it. Feeling at the mercy of changing circumstances isn’t good for anyone.

Remember how resilient you are

Don’t forget your strengths and achievements, and remember you have been through plenty of changes before, and you’ve survived. Focus on what you’ve learned from changes you’ve implemented before.

Focus on achieving success…and reflect

Don’t just focus on the difficulties change can bring, think about the end result, which is the business success you want to achieve. Revisit your goals and reflect regularly on how things are going.

Change is a fact of life, especially in the business world. But change doesn’t have to be feared, it’s something to be embraced and learned from. People are generally uncomfortable with change, but if you can find ways to become more adaptable to change, this reduces the uncertainty that makes it uncomfortable.

But there are ways to implement change, get people on board with it, and cut through the chaos.

Sometimes, people can be too close to their business to see what really needs to happen, and this is where an outside perspective can help.

The People Mentor can help you see the organisational change from a different perspective, and support you through every stage. We run online courses and workshops alongside our customised service to make managing change, your business, and the people in it so much easier!

Book a discovery call to discuss your needs.

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