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Change Management For Small Businesses

written by: Amanda Dcosta • edited by: Marlene Gundlach • updated: 3/16/2013

Small business owners must realize that change is inevitable if the business is going to remain dynamic and register growth. Consider the change management skills that go hand-in-hand with successful business- and project-management environments.

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    Managing change is part of any coping strategy for a business owner. It is essential that business owners take the time to develop change management skills necessary to stay and succeed in business. The pace of change is critically important to keep your employees on track.

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    Planning and Implementation

    Successful implementation of change management calls for proper planning, special leadership, and communication skills. The obvious first step to manage change as a small business owner is to chalk out a change plan. The plan must take into account all aspects of the business; it's necessary to spell out the existing strategies along with the intended changes in different functional areas of your business management system. Planning must include a gradual step-by-step process in order to lessen risks and correct errors as you go along, without impeding the free flow of the change process.

    Once the planning process is over, systematically working out the plan demands strong leadership skills. As the business owner in charge of change management, you are responsible for setting the pace and direction not only in terms of business processes, but also psychologically preparing the people concerned to accept the change.To make people support any change, the business owner must set an example and lead from the front.

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    Communication Skills

    Why are communication skills so important? Changes are generally not always welcomed; in fact, most people resent them. That's why it's important to persuade and convince people about the necessity for change. When more and more people begin to support the change, then the entire process becomes easier to implement.

    Experts recommend that opening up a maximum number of channels, holding several interactive sessions with the persons involved, and sending out regular messages through email and Intranet are all very crucial for successful change management. Throughout the change management process, the total involvement of your people is critically necessary. As Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., succinctly remarked: "Organizations don't change. People do--or they don't." (Source – EvancerMichael)

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    Employee Satisfaction Factor Is Extremely Important

    It is necessary to bear in mind that human psychology is quite often inscrutable and each individual may react to a specific change differently. All employees must be made to realize the inevitability for change, and each individual must be made a part of the change management process.

    The old business management models required owners and managers to keep apart from their employees. But business owners of today make it a point to mingle with others, engage often in interactive discussions, and attempt to personally know each employee. To be a successful leader dealing with change management, one must have both vision and passion, coupled with the understanding that leadership can be wearisome and patience can soon run out.

    When change is effectively handled and properly managed, people will not only let go of their reservations and come to accept the changes, but they may even begin to appreciate and feel happy with the new order of things.

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