You’ve heard the old saying, “Grow or Die”? Companies must constantly evolve and assess not only their position in the marketplace, but their internal processes, procedures and staffing requirements. (Among other things!) How you carry out key processes and which of your team are responsible for important tasks needs to be constantly evaluated and improved. Smaller companies have the advantage of being more nimble than their larger competitors, but running any business is a constant catch-up game in order to keep functioning at peak performance.
For most companies, change is not always welcome. When a SMB owner or corporate management team decides to make a major change in the company, individual team members are often reluctant to get on board. One reason for this behavior is because too often, individual team members don’t have all the facts and relevant information – why the new change is important, how they benefit, how the group (company) as a whole benefits, etc. That’s why creating a Change Management Plan is important.
A Change Management Plan is a working roadmap that defines and spells out roles and procedures that each team member (or sub-group) will have to focus on at various stages during which management envisions the major change will occur. The plan should define measurable goals so everyone knows what to expect, how to measure their own input during the time period the change is occurring and what action plans and/or contingencies are to be utilized in case everything does not go perfectly according to “the plan”.
When you draw up a Change Management Plan, you need to account for, and measure the impact of, institutional change. Based on management’s decision to make any major change (to benefit the company – whether to improve your competitive edge or reduce waste through procedural changes), there needs to be a mechanism for measuring change during the cycle of time allocated for the institutional change. That way, team members can stay up-to-date on how the process is working and how their role is impacting the fundamentals of said change.
All Change Management Plans must start by explaining the reasons for a change – whether change is related to emerging technology, consumer changes, or personnel changes – you’ll need to outline why you’re reacting to issues and how the change will affect the company and team members. The better your definition and details of the who, what, when and why’s; the more buy-in you’ll get from your team.
A Change Management Plan should also provide a description of team member’s support, and perhaps select a few members of the Change Management Team who will oversee the institutional change and keep the rest of the group apprised of on-going details.
There are lots of on-line resources that go into great detail about Change Management Plans and there are even templates to get you started. Bottom line: if you’re going to make a major change in your company, get everyone focused and on board with a company-wide, distributed Change Management Plan.