Change is one of the most feared yet one of the most essential aspects of business. Executives, managers, and employees can be afraid of change and unsure of how to implement it. As time marches on, though, even the most successful company must carry out fresh, relevant changes to improve services, products, or profits. Whether you’re making big changes or small ones, having a plan in place makes things easier for you, your employees, and ultimately your clients.

Put All Your Ducks in a Row

Ducks in a RowImage via Flickr by docoverachiever

Change isn’t something you should introduce without a plan of action. Incorporating new goals, guidelines, or procedures requires concrete ideas, not abstract notions. Start with the basics. Decide what needs to change and why. Are profits down for the quarter? Why? Maybe you aren’t bringing in enough new business, or perhaps your target market shifted.

Once you identify the main problems, start devising new strategies to fix them. Even if it takes a while to come up with solutions, it’s worthwhile to know all of your problems and their possible solutions. It will then be easier to answer your employees’ questions and advise them on what’s coming up next.

Have an Open Discussion With Your Employees

As much as possible, be transparent with your employees. You may not want to put all your cards on the table, and they may not need to know all the issues happening behind the scenes. However, it’s in your best interest to tell your employees about your goals. They need to know your expectations, especially if they have to meet higher goals or quotas.

As you explain any new strategies, be sure to listen to your employees. They do their jobs daily. If a majority of them think something else might work better, at least consider what they have to say. Knowledgeable staff members are invaluable so don’t discount their opinions out of turn.

Get a Consultant to Advise You

If the changes you need to make are large-scale, complex, or require entirely new systems and strategies, you may need professional help. Research firms like Ruota Consulting that specialize in change management. Companies like Ruota can help implement new processes, offer support to the staff, aid in transitions, and ensure that the changes actually last.

Make the Workplace Positive and Rewarding

You have to let your employees know that you believe in the upcoming changes and in their ability to learn new ideas flawlessly. In addition to offering support, be receptive to feedback, listen to other opinions, and provide training and any other tools necessary for a seamless transition. Create a positive work environment where you celebrate successes and achievements, not a place where you punish mistakes.

Change is constant in business. Trends change, interests change, and clients’ needs change. While change is sometimes scary, it can also be just the revitalizing jolt your company needs. With a positive attitude, a solid plan, and a willingness to accept help, you, your employees, and your business can only succeed.