Change is inevitable. Learning to manage change is a critical part of a competitive strategy for every business.
Change has been defined and explored in many ways. Amanda D’Costa adeptly summarizes change as ultimately “a coping mechanism for an uncontrollable environment.” Businesses that actively initiate change are more likely to survive, particularly as new technologies and information keep developing at an alarming rate. More and better information is available to more people and can be accessed more quickly. The equation is simple: technology + information = change. When businesses purposefully initiate change, they gain some control over their environment. They are basically directing where and how change can occur within their business in response to uncontrollable change in their environment.
Learning how to integrate new ideas into existing process, systems, and organizational cultures is a skill that can be learned. Business owners who can initiate change and know how to work through the transformation processes that occur will be more likely to successfully meet organizational goals. Learning how to work through the transformation process is actually managing the change, i.e., change management. It is wise to look at the future of change and change management within the business industry. Business owners who can adapt these trends to their current business models will have greater chances of successfully growing their business.
Trends in Change Management
Knowledge of the following trends in the field of change management are valuable for business owners and entrepreneurs seeking to stand out in the marketplace and gain strategic advantage:
- There will continue to be greater awareness of change as a strategic initiative in entrepreneurial businesses. This means more information will become available on how change can be better managed in small businesses. Entrepreneurial business owners should be actively seeking this information when possible.
- There will be a merging of change management with project management. According to an article by Tim Creasey as the Chief Innovation Officer for Prosci, studies have already begun to support the positive impact change management has on projects success rates. This is important because managing change actually occurs as a series of projects within a business. Projects are usually viewed as successful when they are completed, completed on time, and meet all of their benchmarks. Change management can help accomplish all of that, not just once, but time and time again.
- Managing change is critical to continuous innovation. It’s the basic principle of adapt or die that Braden Kelley mentions in his article. Merging innovation (i.e., adaptation) and change management (i.e., how to adapt) together is inevitable.
- Companies will be hiring change management professionals to help manage change. Understanding how change can be managed is a skill that can be developed; however, it takes time. Outsourcing that skill set to change management professionals (i.e., consultants) is a valuable investment for entrepreneurial business owners who do not have time to learn how to manage change. Making room to hire change management professionals in a budget is a very wise move for entrepreneurial businesses.
- Change management will be incorporated into employee development and training for empowered employees. This concept is pretty simple, create an empowered (i.e. knowledgeable) employee base that understands change, how it can be managed, and why it is necessary. This is a critical step and one that will tremendously benefit entrepreneurial business owners. Entrepreneurial business owners have more autonomy to make unilateral decisions; however, this can backfire if employee buy-in is not there when the decision to change something is made. Educating employees on change and how to manage change is critical to a company being able to successfully adapt to its environment.
Each of these trends can be considered new information that can be used to transform businesses. That is the ultimate goal. These trends should begin generating new ideas and initiating changes in businesses. Entrepreneurial business owners should be assessing their current strategies and processes and how these trends in change management can be used to help their business become or remain competitive.
Megan Miller is a business writer at Aepiphanni, specializing in the fields of marketing, organizational development, and entrepreneurial strategy development. She has an MBA and a Doctorate of Business with a focus on International Business from Liberty University. Megan is currently active in article publications focusing on knowledge management in small and medium-sized businesses. She researches the topics of entrepreneurial cognition, international entrepreneurship, environmental scanning and knowledge acquisition processes of business leaders.
Megan’s professional goals are to help small and medium-sized businesses become established and increase their competitive ability as a means for improving local and regional economies on a global scale. Megan has a passion for teaching and training young women to become successful in achieving their career goals. She currently works with the Wellspring Living Organization as a volunteer in their Women’s Academy to help educate women coming out of human trafficking and domestic violence lifestyles. She also enjoys traveling and experiencing other cultures with a particular affinity for Ireland and Italy.
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