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We live in a constantly evolving environment. Although changes are natural, their speed is now too fast. The decade of the XVIII century and decade of the XXI are completely different in terms of technology development and adaptation to these innovations. Finally, only by constantly improving your technologies, approaches, and marketing strategies you can survive in the harsh business world.
Many businessmen instinctively feel their companies need changes, but they don’t know from where to start. And how to understand that the team successfully adopted the change? How can you be sure that the innovation that seemed to be a win-win won’t ruin your business right away?
John Kotter, a Professor of Leadership, has developed an 8-step change model. According to Kotter, it will allow every business owner find the right approach to the team and make the changes permanent.
1. Create an urgent need
No change will take place until you realize that you need it. The awareness of the urgent need will greatly increase motivation and inspiration of people involved in the process.
First of all, create a list of the necessary changes, and implement them one by one. Carry out the following work:
· Identify potential threats and develop all possible scenarios. Even a simple change can lead to unexpected results.
· Explore all the possibilities and resources that can help you in achieving the goal.
· Start a discussion with the team and encourage them to ask questions and express opinions.
· Ask your loyal customers to support you by providing feedback.
Kotter claims that the first step brings about 75% of success.
2. Create a coalition
You have to convince as many people as possible that the changes are necessary, as well as that these changes will bring some benefit to each member of your team.
People tend to resist changes, but if you point out to exceptional prospects and real benefits, most likely, you’ll be able to dispel all the hesitations and fears.
Note that you should lead the team, not just give orders – that’s how you can achieve the best results!
· Identify those who are also leaders and can help you.
· Identify all interested in changes. Ask these people for emotional help.
· Identify those who are resistant to changes and determine why they are unhappy.
Your main task is to unobtrusively convince your staff that they do need these changes.
3. Visualise changes
Not all people can boast of creative thinking, so you gave to demonstrate them the image of the future that awaits them. When people understand what you want to achieve, they show much better performance.
· Define the value of change and make sure each of your employees appreciates it.
· Come up with a short, one or two sentences in length message that conveys the main principle of your innovative idea. During the changes implementation, you’ll need to speak a lot, but make sure this core message is in the people’s hearts.
· Develop a strategy to achieve your goal.
· Ensure that each member of your team can describe “the desired future” in one minute.
· Build your speech not only on logics but also emotions.
4. Speak and think about what you want to achieve
After clearly presented the future of the company, start thinking about it, and hold discussions with your subordinates. Be flexible because someone can offer you a more efficient way to achieve the goal. If the whole team tries to give you advice, everything goes smoothly!
One big change involves several smaller ones. Discuss every step, even the most insignificant, with your team.
· Talk about the company’s future and the changes you want to achieve as much as possible.
· Pay attention to all the concerns of your subordinates and dispel their fears.
· Bring your ideas to life by all means. Almost any action has to be subordinated to your dream.
5. Remove obstacles
What if some people are resistant to changes? What if you haven’t got the expected results?
Well, the only way out is to find out obstacles and remove them. When people see how well you cope with the problems, they will begin to trust you and follow you.
· Hire people who know how to convince and enthuse.
· Encourage and reward people for success. However, don’t limit yourself with only financial rewards.
· Make sure that the descriptions of vacancies fit the future job.
· Identify people who prevent change and talk to them. Don’t fire them at once – if you can convince them, they will become the most loyal employees.
· Once the obstacle appears, immediately remove it.
6. Achieve short-term wins
Nothing motivates better than success. Let your team feel the smell of victory! A global change may take several months or even years, so you should celebrate smaller ones to avoid negative thoughts and mental fatigue.
· Cope up with a few unmistakable projects that you can easily implement.
· Do not spend a lot of money at an early stage. First, make sure that you have a coherent team.
· Thank and reward the workers who help in achieving short-term wins.
7. Develop the change
Unlike short-term wins, big lasting change requires a lot of work. Running a single product is good, but the launch of ten products is even better!
Remember the most important rule: you either evolve or degrade.
· Analyze what you did/do right and wrong.
· Think about what you need to improve.
· Think of new, fresh ideas.
8. Turn the change into a rule
Make every effort to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of the work of your company. Changes need to be tangible rather than exist only in the minds of your people.
Take your time! A set of changes will become your new corporate culture, and people will take it much easier.
· Talk about the progress with your staff, accounting the people’s interests.
· When recruiting staff, inform future candidates about these requirements and observe the reaction.
· Go to the end and don’t give up. You’ll need more discipline and willpower than physical efforts.
It is difficult to change yourself, but when it comes to the whole company, things get much more complicated. Be ready to work a lot, but don’t rush to implement changes before your team is mentally prepared. Good luck is your business endeavors!