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Inevitable. Invaluable. Beneficial: Is your business fit for change?

April 2019Tom

In an environment dominated by Brexit one thing‘s for sure, there is significant and long-lasting change ahead for all of us. But Brexit aside, change is an inevitable feature of business and your organisation’s ability to embrace and communicate it is essential to achieving your strategic objectives. 

Why we resist change

Most of us like to know where we stand. Resistance to change stems from a fear of the unknown that often serves us well. Will we lose of control of something important? Will we lose face? What will our place be in the aftermath?

We like certainty in business too. It helps us plan accurately, price competitively and provides a sense of security on which day-to-day business activities can rely – it’s why change is often viewed with suspicion. 

But one thing is certain; change is coming. So what can we do to face it head on? When you’re thinking about your approach to change, bear in mind this well-worn quote:

If not now, when? If not us, who?

Types of change

There are basically two types of change; change you can control and change you can’t. It’s the change you can’t directly influence that tends to cause the most fear but the reality is that businesses don’t operate in a vacuum. There will always be factors beyond your control including:

  • technological developments made by competitors
  • changes in customer priorities (e.g. demand for more sustainable products)
  • changes in buying patterns (e.g. B2B buyers increasingly researching products online)
  • changes in legislation
  • political change  
  • new entrants to the market

Managing change

Although change itself may be outside your control, how you respond to it is very much within your power. The most successful businesses we’ve worked with take a proactive approach to change. They anticipate it, prepare for it, plan for it and take the lead in embracing it. They are agile and adaptable. As such they tend to experience less disruption and are better positioned to identify and take advantage of the opportunities that change can bring.

Benefits of embracing change

Embracing change has many benefits including:  

  • it helps build trust with customers who see you as forward-thinking and capable 
  • it improves operational efficiency
  • it encourages innovation
  • it promotes the development of new skills within the workforce
  • it improves procedures and policies (and therefore compliance)

Communication and change

In our experience change – whether chosen or imposed – can be a powerful force for good and businesses can overcome many of the fears and concerns around it by communicating effectively, appropriately and with purpose to all stakeholders.

In the last 12 months we’ve helped our clients communicate a range of changes including; business acquisitions, corporate rebranding, new products launches and the development of new online services.

Whatever the change and whatever the circumstance, explaining what’s happening (or is going to happen), why it’s happening, what you expect the impact to be, what you plan to do and why you plan to do it, ensures those stakeholders it affects understand you better and trust you more. It can make the difference between a positive or negative experience for your business and your customers.

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