As a business owner do you feel that your business is awash in change? Do you have a hard time keeping up with the shifting demands you face as a leader? You’re not alone. Unrelenting change is becoming the norm. Owners have no choice but to adapt and to help others to adapt, too.
Pressure to achieve results and to satisfy what are often competing demands builds the intensity. External factors — the economy, industry and market trends, the global pandemic and rapid technological changes — all conspire to make leadership a complex, difficult undertaking. But you have the right mindset to make this happen.
Effective leaders understand that successful change and transition requires more than just coping with change — and that the goal is not to “get by.” These leaders accept that change is happening; they hone strategies for dealing with the unknown; and they shift their behaviour to accommodate new situations and challenges.
What’s the difference between change & transition?
To manage change, first understand that there is a difference between change and transition.
- Change is defined as the situations and occurrences that impact organisations and individuals. Change creates the need to move from the way things used to be to the way they are now, such as a new team member, a move to a work-from-home environment, or a shift in policy. Adapting to change requires flexibility.
- Transition is the internal psychological process of adapting to a new situation. Transition can happen quickly or slowly. It is the process of moving successfully from the old to the new. Here are our tips for navigating the 3 stages of transition.
Transition involves 3 stages: an ending, a neutral zone, and a new beginning, according to William Bridges, a leader in the field of change management.
Accept the ending
Let go of the past; honor and grieve the ending but accept it. To fully experience change as an ending, try these 3 strategies:
- Admit to yourself and others that the change has occurred. Leading change by example requires honesty and authenticity.
- Actively seek information from all relevant sources. Learn more about the nature of the change without first judging it.
- Take note of what has been lost and what has been gained. Take the view that different is not right or wrong. It’s just different.
Live in the neutral zone
This may be the most uncomfortable transition stage. This is the time of confusion, of living with a clear ending but having no clear beginning. It is also the time for clarity to develop and point you to a new beginning. Try these 4 strategies as you navigate the neutral zone:
- Realise that uncertainty is an integral stage between an ending and a new beginning. Don’t expect to know everything or to be perfect.
- Set short-term goals to move through uncertainty. As you advance toward a new beginning, take stock of what you need to accomplish those goals and identify opportunities that will help you move forward.
- Look backward to the ending and acknowledge what you had. Look forward to the beginning and the possibilities it could create.
- Connect to your values. When you feel uncertain and confused, your values will provide direction.
Reach your new beginning
Utilise the clarity that developed in the neutral zone and accept the challenge of working in a changed environment. Think of this phase as a fresh start. Try these 3 strategies as you settle into your new beginning:
- Jump right in to meet new people. As you learn the ropes, give all relevant parties a place in the new beginning.
- Create strategies for tackling new problems. When you meet new challenges, re-emphasize the reason for the change and recognize that reason as why you are beginning anew.
- Find ways to mark your success. Acknowledge small wins.
People experience business change in many different ways, and the process of transition will vary. As an owner leading change, you must deal with your own personal uncertainty and resistance to change. Recognise that your process of going through endings, neutral zones, and new beginnings will affect your work and the people around you.
The practicalities of transitioning
Now that you understand why managing change and transitioning is important it’s time to turn our hand to the practicalities.
You already understand that great teams are the foundation of successful businesses. A great way to create a team without having the overheads of an employee would be to outsource. Outsourcing is a great way to plug what may be a short-term resource challenge, whilst maintaining your service and potentially growing the business too. It is a no brainer to us!
At Wendy Johnstone Ltd we are experts in providing experienced flexible helping hands. We fully understand that its difficult to find an outsourcing partner that lives up to your expectations. You need experienced resource/s that are great at getting up to speed quickly, in what may be difficult circumstances.
Hopefully you already have this planned out, all you need to do is make it happen whilst you have time to do so.
Watch out for our next BLOG which will be the third and final part in the series, helping you to implement change during business as usual.
Do you need resources within your business, but can't keep all of your team members?
We understand it’s going to be a difficult period for you, as it is with many other businesses.
At Wendy Johnstone Ltd we are experts at providing experienced flexible resource, it could be just the solution you need!
We’re based in Hertfordshire, just 25 minutes from central London, but we operate UK wide.