How to Affect Positive Change in Your Business

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 actions isn’t happening in whole or in part within your small business, then you are overdue for a makeover.

One of the keys to bringing about change to an organization–smal or large–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 when striving to affect positinve change in your own company:

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.
With every change there’s a learning curve. Expect mistakes to be made and be open to tweaking things 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 to plan a retreat. “Find a way to get outside of the office to keep employees engaged,” says Tate. “You want to keep people connected.”


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. For starters, it’s vital to do an assessment identity and prepare for remedying challenges before you confront them. Next, if the determination is made to terminate ineffective employees, this needs to be done appropriately. And finally, once your company’s wheels have been re-tightened (or replaced) it will take a proactive effort to maintain your 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 with your bottom line up).

Tell us what you think. 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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