Adapt Your Business Plan with Internal Changes

Some business plans are based specifically on making dramatic changes to respond to evolving circumstances. Responding to the external changes, such as emerging technologies, environmental disruption, and shifting customer expectations, often requires internal changes in what you do and how you operate.

If you’re planning to make big changes to an existing company, move carefully and strategically. Handled badly, internal changes can make morale plunge and even affect your bottom line. Handled well, strategic internal changes can strengthen your competitiveness and boost morale. Consider a few strategies for success.

  • Do your homework. Make sure you’ve explored all your options before instituting sweeping changes. Ask yourself: Is this the best approach for us? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? How will these changes be implemented? Finally, spell out the changes in detail.

  • Identify everyone who will be affected. After you arrive at a consensus on the changes to make, consider how they’ll affect everyone in your company. Thinking ahead about the impact on your employees can help you anticipate problems and speed implementation.

  • Communicate at all levels. Make sure everyone knows what the planned changes are and why they are essential. Spell out the benefits and how the changes will be implemented. If appropriate, plan meetings where employees can ask questions and voice their concerns.

  • Assign a change manager. If the plans are substantial, consider assigning a manager to oversee the implementation of the changes. Libraries that implement technology plans often assign one person to be in charge, for example.

  • Gauge your progress. Making far-reaching changes in how a company does business can be very disruptive. As you move forward, make sure you gauge your progress. Leave the door open for employees to communicate concerns, complaints, and constructive ideas.

  • Stay flexible. Be decisive when you introduce a big change. But make sure you also stay flexible. Even the best-laid plans need to be tweaked as they move forward. Don’t be so wedded to the details of your plan that you can’t adapt as implementation proceeds.

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