Change before you have to

Chris Brown - Brown & Co

Jack Welch, the former CEO of Genera Electric, advised “Change before you have to.”

His words are very apt, given the plethora of changes we’ve all experienced this year.

Change is now a normal part of doing business, given how fast industries move, technologies advance and current events shift. However, change is rarely easy. The larger and more complex the business, the more challenging it is to implement change effectively.

Despite that, the ability to incorporate change plays a direct role in long-term success. It requires a strategic approach and that’s where change management comes into play.

Business is all about people. Therefore, change management helps you look at the impacts to people – how they’re going to react to the barriers adopting that change – and how they can be helped to adapt and move forward.

One of the most effective frameworks a business can use to initiate change is the

“Managing Complex Change” model created by Dr Mary Lippitt, a leadership and management consultant.

The model considers these steps and why they are important:

  • Vision – determine your clear goals and vision. Consider why this change is needed and clearly communicate this to your team. A lack of vision can lead to confusion.
  • Skills – consider what skills are needed to execute the vision. Does your team already have the expertise or will they need training? A lack of skills can create anxiety.
  • Incentives – how will your people be encouraged or motivated to implement these changes? You need to think about what drives each person as this can differ. A lack of incentives can lead to resistance.
  • Resources – consider what resources are already available and whether they are sufficient. A lack of resources can leave people frustrated about their ability to implement changes.
  • Action plan – how will you know when you have reached your goal? Without an action plan, you may waste effort.

It’s also important to share progress with all stakeholders to keep everyone on board.

The “Managing Complex Change” model is an effective tool for managing any changes in your business as we head into 2024.

There is nothing permanent except change, so we may as well embrace it and find the tools to help us succeed.

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