Change, reaction, employees, business development, Gary Cates

Change happens. How does your business react?

At LSL, we’re always trying to share business development strategies to help our clients run a more successful business. These ideas and strategies have proven to be effective in many different types of businesses. However, for you and your team members to effectively implement these ideas you need to deal with a very important concept… How people react to change.

Change in our society today is escalating at a frantic pace. Our ability to understand it and embrace it will be the key to success in our business, as well as our personal lives. Whether it’s changing the products or services you offer, or the way sales orders and invoices are processed, business owners are continually faced with the need to make changes within their company.

The following seven principles describe the way people generally react to changes they must make. Let’s take a look at how our understanding of these principles can help us succeed in implementing critical changes that must be made in our business operations.

7 Principles of Change

1. People will feel awkward, ill at ease and self-conscious:

At first, any new behavior will seem awkward. Let your team members know that it’s only natural to feel this way. Change is good if it helps the business become more effective. If we don’t feel somewhat awkward, we’re probably not making any significant change.

2. People will think about what they have to give up:

This is human nature. We become comfortable with a certain way of doing things and don’t want to give it up. Make sure you identify those old behaviors and let people know that they must be prepared to let go of them.

3. People will feel alone even if everyone else is going through the same change:

It’s also natural to feel alone. But the key is to not let this feeling cause everyone to isolate and keep to themselves. The business must function as a team with everyone willing to reach out to each other for help when they experience a problem. Individual creativity will flow when people work together by sharing observations and ideas with each other.

4. People can only handle so much change:

Most organizations have more changes that need to be made than they can handle at one time. The key is to prioritize the changes and tackle the most important ones first. Start with those things that will have the most immediate impact and will be the easiest to implement. When implementing major changes, try to break the process down into “bite-size” pieces to keep people from being overwhelmed.

5. People are at different levels of readiness for change:

Some people will be more reluctant to embrace change than others. Be ready to support and encourage those people. As Stephen Covey says, “value the differences in others”. The fact that not everyone reacts the same in a given situation, can be a positive. Differences can make us stronger. Also, keep team members focused on the end goal not on their reluctance to change. This will help avoid hostile feelings.

6. People will be concerned that they don’t have enough resources (time, money, etc.)

“Where am I going to find the time to make this change?” Making a change that will improve your business is an “investment”. Making an investment means forgoing current consumption for a future benefit or reward. Therefore, be prepared to give your people the time and resources they need to get the job done.

7. When you take the pressure off, people will tend to revert to their old behavior.

We all know this is true. So how do we keep the pressure on? The secret is to not put the pressure on in the first place. Allow your team members to orchestrate the change with your support and facilitation. By allowing them to participate in the process of change, they will be more inclined to embrace it, own it and make it work. When you try to force the change like a dictator, your people will fall back to their old habits as soon as you take the pressure off.

So, before you begin the process of implementing any significant changes in your business, be sure to review these seven principles (especially #7). I think you’ll find that the process will go a lot smoother when you understand the dynamics at work.

Change is not something we should fear.

Change is the key to growth and prosperity in a changing world. No matter what line of business you’re in, I guarantee it will change dramatically in the next 5 years. And your survival will depend on your ability to make the necessary changes that the marketplace demands.

Are you ready for change? Feel free to contact your LSL Advisor for more information, or call (714) 672-0022. 

Gary Cates

For more than 40 years, Gary has pursued leadership in the profession by working his way up from staff accountant to managing partner in the same firm and then supporting a merger between Vilmure, Peeler & Boucher, LLP and LSL CPAs in 2013. His clients have included successful entrepreneurs in construction, manufacturing and other closely held enterprises, guided by Gary’s knowledge in tax, accounting, strategic planning and even personal estate planning. You can reach Gary at 714-672-0022. Read Gary's complete bio.