The DOs and DON’Ts of Change

A company is operating efficiently when it is achieving three things: retaining old customers, attracting new customers, and increasing value in products and services for current customers. If any of these things isn’t happening in whole or part within your small business, then you are overdue for a makeover.

One of the keys to bringing about change to an organization is inspiring employees to work more efficiently and effectively. However, there are right and wrong ways to do that, says Melva Tate, president of Strategic HR Partnerships, a human resources consulting firm in Birmingham, AL.

Here are some tips to consider:

Do create a progressive discipline policy. Similar to the three strikes and you’re out rule, a progressive discipline policy gives employees a couple of chances to fail and try again. Such a policy awards persistence and improvement, while ensuring that employees are aware of what’s expected from them in the long-term.

Do get a neutral party involved. Different managers may approach change in different ways. To make sure that an organization is consistent in its efforts to transform processes and procedures, let a human resources employee or consultant provide input on the big picture.

Don’t expect success overnight. Every change has a learning curve attached. Expect mistakes to be made and be open to tweaking the changes as you go along.

Don’t leave employees out of the process. When an organization is making major changes, employees should be allowed to give more input, not less. This is a good time plan a retreat. “Find a way to get outside of the office to keep employees engaged,” says Tate. “You want to keep people connected.”

POP QUIZ:
Are you really ready for change?

The number one Do is … have a plan. Strategic steps must be implemented throughout the process of changing your organization in any way. For starters, it’s vital to do an assessment identity and prepare for remedying the challenges beforehand. Next, if the determination is made to terminate ineffective employees too needs to be done appropriately. And finally, once your company’s wheels have been retightened (or replaced) it will take a proactive effort to maintain the momentum (Check out “The Outcome of an Organizational Overhaul” in our December 2010 issue for tips on how to come out of change on top and your bottomline up).

Tell us what you think: Would how far would you go to get your company on the proper path to profits? Terminate your workforce? Create a new business model? Let go of clients?

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