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How to survive change management in your business
Business Change Management 8th May 2014 Gill Perry

As humans, we thrive on routine and we often find ourselves doing things in the way that they’ve been done for years without ever questioning it. Often the response to “Why are we doing it this way?” is “That’s the way it’s always been, isn’t it?”.

Change goes against some of our inbuilt systems. The human brain maps out routines and patterns and our learning is based on past experiences. To change is to go against the mapping and wiring in the brain and to understand this gives us some insight into why change is often ‘painful’ to people.

But change can be for the better, and change in business can reward you with better working conditions, leaner processes, lowered expenditure and of course higher profits. But change needs to be understood and managed in a way that employees can cope with it. Proceeding with caution and measurement is our advice. People will rally against change if you go about it the wrong way.

So how do you avoid failure with change? Here are some things to consider:

On time and on budget are not the actual targets of your change

Although important, the budget and the timing of change are not the most important part of the success. Neither time nor budget take into consideration managing the change. By managing the change we simply mean ensuring that everything is on target – and that includes the happiness and satisfaction of your team.

Just because a change is on target for time and budget doesn’t mean it’s going to be a success with your business’ workforce - and it could be a bigger failure than going over budget.

Manage your change by putting someone in place to ensure the people side is on target too. Set out the plan and manage the people as well as the systems.

What do you really want to achieve from a business change?

Success is only measured by judging it against a clear target. To allow true success you must have a crystal clear view of the outcomes of your change.

As with any idea or new process, the final outcome can become blurred along the way as people’s views and fears come into play. Always be clear why you’re making the change and be sure to set out the benefits of it. It’s very easy to get side-tracked and bend the rules along the way. Going off course won’t get you to your final goal and your change may not be a true success.

Have a clear set of goals for your change and measure them. Be sure to stay on course and try to remember why you’re doing it in the first place – sometimes the final outcome can be far from this.

Remember - leaders don’t naturally get it

Leaders are powerful people in your organisation and they’re not always the board of directors either. Leaders are people that others follow. Simply put, they are the influential people in your organisation that others look to for advice and direction.

These are the people you need onside with any change.

Here’s an example of how a leader can topple your change:

You implement a time-tracking system to find out how long a process takes. Its aim is to refine your process and to charge customers accordingly for it. You need to know the labour or other costs of any process to work out the final price.

If you don’t explain the benefits of the change it’s easy for the workforce to be fearful of redundancies or to feel like they are being tracked and that you don’t trust them. They may think the scheme is a waste of time and not want to go along with it.

Explaining the true reason and getting the key leaders on side should be your goal. Otherwise scaremongering and “what ifs” set in, and you’ll lose the faith of your workforce which can cripple your change altogether.

Can we handle change in our business? - death by a thousand initiatives!

A change can be a great thing for any business if it will achieve positive goals - but can your business handle it?

Identifying ideas to solve a business problem is an essential process in change. Coming up with too many initiatives and trying to implement them all can lead to disaster... Do a few things well, not a hundred things badly.

Decide on the best courses of action and concentrate on doing them well.

Organisational culture happens somewhere else

This has often proved difficult for most people to grasp and is probably the reason why it has a big impact on a change programme. People in an organisation get used to the way things are done as well as associating certain norms and beliefs with it.

Change can challenge these very strong beliefs and associations, so be very careful to explain the need for the change and make sure it fits with the dynamics of your team or employees.

It’s so logical, how could they not change?

Just because it’s obvious to you doesn’t mean it’s obvious to others (and this goes for everything in life).

We all have our own opinions, thoughts, aspirations, desires and targets. Understanding that we’re all different and that you may need to explain the outcome and benefits of any change is key to its success.

Why are you doing this? How are you going to do it? Why and how does this affect and benefit those around you?

Giving clear indications of your intent and keeping the communication open is an important part of managing any change. The “what’s in it for me” factor will always rise so be ready or pre-empt it with your planning.


So what should you consider in a change in your business?


  • Time and budget are not the only factors to consider.
  • What do you want to achieve? Stay focused.
  • Measure, measure, measure! You won’t know if you’ve succeed otherwise.
  • Leaders rule your workforce - and they’re not always in the boardroom.
  • Can your business handle it? Idea overload can kill the success of change.
  • Organisational culture. Be wary of strong beliefs and views in your business’ environment.
  • What’s obvious to you isn’t always obvious to others – keep communicating.

There are many other reasons that change won’t work in your business but these are the main ones. If you’re considering a big change in your business and its processes don’t forget to cover all the angles. Be mindful of people's strengths and weaknesses. Take the time to understand the people you are dealing with, and how and why they feel like they do, before you take action.

At Ofsure we are all about change and how to manage change well and have a highly experienced team to help you with the complex processes.  Contact us now if you need help with your change by emailing us on info@ofsure.com and one of our change team will contact you..

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Comments (1)

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Colin Whalen - 9th May 2014 - 14:04

There are some excellent change pointers here - thanks for sharing them. One I might add would be to provide clarity on the steps involved in implementing the change and how these affect different people in different roles; being able to see what is coming helps people to prepare for and accommodate the change. Looking forward to the next post! Colin