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Change Management in Business

While driving, it’s incredibly important to use our turn signals to let other cars know our intentions. Not only is it considerate, but it’s also a matter of safety. Cars often move at high speeds which requires rapid decions and have little time to decide which actions to take and the little blinking light gives insight.

I can think of another instance that a turn signal could have been paramount. Chris (my husband and VS’s VP of Technology) took me snow skiing once. I had never been, so everything was new. He took me to the top of a mountain and as we started our descent, he decided to show me, impromptu, how to stop. Directly in front of me. Without telling me he was planning to do so. I’m sure you can imagine the results. 

I’ve been thinking lately about other practical applications of this concept, and business is one of those cases. When things are changing, team members need warning. People are creatures of habit. Giving a little “turn signal” not only prepares them for the upcoming shift, but also allows them to plan for it.

I’ve been the recipient of abrupt business changes. I felt just as blindsided as the snow skiing fiasco. Some abrupt changes are unavoidable or out of the control of the business. But many others are the result of poor business communication and poor planning. As a leader, I try really, really hard to limit the “frisbee to the head” moments as much as possible.

Not only do employees need to know about changes in advance, but customers do as well. I’ve received several notifications over the recent weeks from vendors giving ample warning of service changes or price increases. Or downtime for upgrades. While they are not pleasant, having time to prepare is helpful. 

While driving and in your business, internally and externally, it’s always considerate to give as much notice of change as possible. 

If you are looking to give external notifications of change (aka Public Relations) some helpful tips are: be concise, be specific, have empathy. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and ask what you’d want to know. If not all customers are impacted, don’t cause alarm, you can only notify the customers impacted, or specify exactly which types of customers will be effected.

If you need help with this, give us a call! 662.300.3910.

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