Is Your Team Ready For Change?

by Blackwood Impact Group

There comes a point in every small business’s growth trajectory when they become intentional about up-leveling to the mid-market sector for their industry.

Leadership recognizes that in order to grow revenue and increase the capacity for servicing more customers, a new strategy will need to be crafted and followed.  The search for an outside consultant or firm to help spearhead the impending transition commences.

But the question the organization should ask itself before that point is, “Are we ready for a change?”

To truly move the revenue needle, your team must be fully prepared to commit the necessary time, money, and resources.  Most importantly, the company’s culture must be supportive of the change in order to see the successful results you envision.

Conducting a self-audit can set you up for success.  But you need to be ready, to be honest with yourself, your employees, your clients, everyone in your ecosystem.  Don’t turn a blind eye to any part of the process. You must be prepared to accept the good, bad, and the ugly.  Truly assess where you are, how you got here, and be clear on where you want to go before bringing on outside help.

So here is a guide you can use to begin the process of your self-audit. These are the areas you should be prepared to support your impending changes and questions that you can begin asking to help you get ready for the process.

Are You Ready To Invest Your Time and Resources?

When preparing to implement changes that will impact your revenue, you must be realistic about your team’s ability to commit the appropriate amount of time for all phases of the project.  This is especially true if your change management process includes the implementation of new productivity software.

Software tools such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Human Resources Information Management (HRIS), or Marketing Automation (MA) require more time than companies initially anticipate.  At the outset, you will need to allow adequate time to customize the tool to support your organization’s unique workflows.  Each department that will be using the software will need to give their input on their needs.  Then after the installation and data transfer period, there is the training period for all team members so that there is 100% user adaption.

Even if you are not utilizing software as a key component of your change management process, you must still give adequate time for teaching your team your new success strategies and ensure that all understand and will be uniformly following the new procedures.  

Questions you should consider asking yourself: what is your team’s current workload?  Are your executives and upper-level management available to contribute or take ownership of managing aspects of the project? Does your IT department head have enough support to assist with day-to-day tasks so that they can effectively manage a new software implementation project? 

Further questions: Will your team be able to maintain your customer satisfaction levels while making room for new tasks over the course of a few months?  If not, will you be hiring a temporary workforce to keep business flowing as usual?  Speaking of hiring, that taps into the financial aspects of change.

Are You Ready to Invest Your Money?

Implementing any new process improvements, and especially software usually comes with a financial outlay.  There are direct costs that should be prepared for; this should include the cost of any software and the cost of your consultant or firm that is assisting you. If you do not want to outlay a large amount of cash, you might want to consider leveraging a business loan or any financing options offered by the software publisher, reseller, or consultant, or firm you’re working with.

But often, the deeper you go into a change management process, unforeseen challenges arise and there is usually a cost associated with the solution.  You may find that you’ll need to hire a copywriter, a design firm, an SEO specialist, or other types of specialized assistance that weren’t part of your original plan or quote.  Also, it is not uncommon when working with consultants or outside firms for projects to incur more billable hours than originally anticipated.  Can your budget handle the strain of surprise fees, regardless of origin?

Is Your Culture Ready For Change?

The biggest and best resource a company has is its people.  New marketing tactics, sales strategies, and customer service goals are great but success or failure depends largely upon your team. Don’t sabotage your change process before you’ve begun doing the work or before you’ve paid out money to consulting firms or for software tools. You must have alignment amongst your team if you intend to help your business take a quantum leap forward.

So ask yourself these types of questions: is your current culture working for you or against you?  Is how you’re doing business today the way you want to continue in the future? Are you truly open to figuring out what is broken in your organization and committed to doing whatever it takes to fix it? 

Examine your team members, partners, and advisors: are there any who are not on board with the vision?  Can they potentially cause dissension when trying to implement change?  Do you have team members who are weighing you down because they are not a good fit?  Do you have troubled clients who do not fit your “ideal client” profile?

Are you willing to look in the mirror, ask the tough questions, and have the guts to have frank, non-judgmental conversations?  You and your team must be willing to call yourself and others out and do the hard work to either change together or part ways if necessary.

Why Is A Self-Audit Necessary?

The questions I’m recommending that you ask are uncomfortable, to say the least. So I wouldn’t be surprised if right now you’re asking yourself, “Is a self-audit really necessary?”   In my experience, when companies are about to invest a significant amount of time, money, resources, and energy into changing processes and procedures, they tend to only think about the positive outcomes they are hoping for and are blindsided when problems arise. 

Many of the common challenges (running out of money, poor customer service due to an overextended team, and disgruntled team members who are poisoning the process) can be sidestepped with awareness and proper planning.  Lack of preparation will lead to a waste of all that was invested and the need to reinvest in another change management process at another time.  Most importantly, your team will be physically and emotionally burned-out, which is a recipe for high turn-over.  Could your organization survive such a drain on finances and the loss of seasoned team members?

Success begins and ends with your team.  Although you might contract an outside consultant or firm for assistance, you should see them as your guide and a collaborator in the process.  You and your team are the real heroes.  You are the ones who will achieve the revenue victory you seek.

Need help determining your team’s readiness for the journey?  DOWNLOAD my free self-audit tool.