June 6, 2019
The modern business environment presents a lot of uncertainty. Changes in government regulations, threats of new competitors, and rapidly advancing technology all pose risks for businesses. Employees are also well-informed about opportunities in the market and they can leave the company for better prospects, posing additional risks of talent shortage.
In order to cope with these risks, businesses must have a dynamic culture that can adapt to changes in the environment.
The Need to Change
When we consider business sustainability in a changing environment, a comparison can be drawn to the survival of a species in the natural world. Species often compete with each other for resources, move from one location to another, and gradually undergo changes that give them better survival options.
Just as species evolve to cope with environmental pressure, businesses must be receptive to changing their policies and procedures. However, unlike natural species, businesses do not have the luxury of a million years and changes must often be brought about quickly in a matter of months.
Barriers to Change
The need for rapid deployment of new systems and processes is what makes management averse to implementing meaningful changes. People—management and employees—are often invested and trained in existing business practices. A change in existing practices requires additional funding, new training, and affects the existing structures of power and internal politics.
For example, a change in business practices may require devolution of power from the management to staff members. The manager may not be willing to let go of their authority and create hurdles in the transfer of power.
The employees may also be resistant to change if they are required to take on extra work and new responsibilities. There are cases where the employees may not be skilled enough to take on new job roles and resist changes.
The business management must look at factors that could slow down the process of implementing change and take active steps to address these issues. If the staff is not skilled enough to perform new duties, then adequate training must be provided to them to do a good job. If the management is reluctant to let go of their existing power, then appropriate steps should be considered to get them on board.
There are nine main steps of managing change for a business.
The success of organizational change is highly dependent on the people working for the business. You cannot make long-term and meaningful improvements to a business without support from the people who will be working on the ground.
Make sure to identify the important stakeholders early and keep them on your side during the process of change to get effective results.