The What, Why, And How Of Central Changes
“The only constant is change.” – Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher
As your business grows, things will change. If you want your business to be successful for years to come, it must go through central changes to adjust to fluctuations in how people live and work. If your company doesn’t change, it will not be able to keep up with competitors that can better adapt to the times.
Changes within an organization vary widely, and each employee in your company may view an organizational change in a different way. To fully understand its importance and how you should address it, you should first ask: What are central changes?
An Overview Of Central Changes
An central change is any change that is considered “significant” or affects the entire business. Things like adding a new product or service, or a complete reorganization, are considered central changes. The definition is deliberately vague to include a wide variety of alterations in your business. However, it is much more significant than merely changing a procedure or altering one department.
Sometimes understanding organizational change is easiest by considering examples. Below are a few common types of central changes.
- Changes in mission and strategy. Your business’s mission and underlying values should trickle down to every employee and every aspect of your company. If you change the underlying purpose of your business, then your entire operation should be altered as well.
- Central structure. Changing roles and responsibilities of your employees and teams can impact most of your business.
- People. Even if the responsibilities of a position do not change, altering who fulfills a specific role can have a considerable impact on the rest of your business. This is especially true if management changes. While alterations may seem minor, swapping out just one or two individuals can affect the rest of your company.
- Culture. Your company’s underlying culture plays a significant role in innovation and productivity. Altering things such as expectations, working habits, and norms will lead to a sizable organizational change in most situations.
- Knowledge. What your employees know and understand is one of your most significant assets. Providing training and refocusing what you would like your employees to know can also lead to central changes.
- Policies. Depending on the type of policy, changing just a few big rules can lead to changes that affect your entire company. These could be both intentional and unintentional changes.
- Technology. Upgrades in technology can lead to automation and changes in infrastructure. As technology evolves, implementing these upgrades can affect your whole company from top to bottom.
- Processes. Changing processes from within is one of the most common organizational changes. However, some companies do not realize the vast impact that changing a few processes can make.
- Products. Adding, removing, or altering products and services that you offer to customers can mean huge changes within your business. This type of change likely connects to similar central changes.
- Marketing and customer relationships. How you communicate and sell to your clients or customers may change over time, particularly based on client relationships and preferences in your target market.
Why Are Central Changes Important?
You cannot grow without change. Central changes often trigger new opportunities and innovation. Sometimes developments within your business mean new ways to be more efficient or effective. It can make it easier to accomplish goals and cut costs, for example.
Changes may also be in response to outside transformations as well. Adapting to how people get information today compared to just a few decades ago is a huge part of staying relevant in today’s business world. In that respect, organizational change may be necessary to stay relevant and thrive.
Implementing central changes can often mean getting better results across the board – increasing your bottom line and making everyone at your company much happier.
Implementing Central Changes
Change makes some people uneasy. It comes with some degree of risk and uncertainty. But, the reward can be worth the time and effort to implement the new policy, process or culture. Take these four steps to help the transition run more smoothly:
- Ensure your management buys in. When employees see that their managers or supervisors are supporting the process and leading by example, they are less likely to be reluctant. Management should not only field questions from the staff, but they should also note any potential problem areas and help create a means to address them.
- Do not make changes for the sake of change. Employees are much more likely to appreciate and embrace central changes when they fully understand why it is occurring. Changing processes, procedures or other aspects of an employee’s daily life merely to spice things up may not end well. On the other hand, making changes to encourage innovation or get your team out of a rut may be a good idea. Provide your team with the rationale behind the move, whether it is in response or anticipation to external changes or just to spark creativity.
- Communicate effectively. Explaining exactly how the new change will work is critical. Tell your staff what the alteration is, why it is occurring, and how you will implement it. Set a timeline for full execution of the new change. Answer questions both during the announcement and as employees work through the new environment. Encourage employees to provide feedback about the alteration.
- Get feedback before, after, and during. It can be difficult for upper management to fully appreciate how central changes will affect the daily life of their employees. Talk through a potential modification before you make it. Perhaps there is a reason why your company does things the way it does – your employees may be able to spot fatal flaws before you invest time and effort in a change. Follow up with your employees while the change is being implemented and check in to see how workers are adjusting to the new environment a few weeks or months after the finalizing the process.
To read more about organizational change, read our most recent blog post here.