Thousands of years ago, the great Greek philosopher Heraclitus became famous with the insistence that change is the main fundamental of the Universe. His infamous statements “No man ever steps in the same river twice” and “The only thing that is constant is change” have been traveling through the years, challenging people to think about the inevitability of the alteration in every aspect of life.
Nowadays, his statements are still relevant and very popular as we can distinctively see how fast everything around us is changing. We are constantly exposed to change, especially with the effect of technology and innovation the change becomes more obvious. And in order to keep their competitive edge, companies need to embrace strong change strategies.
Many people ask the question: Does a startup company with 3 to 5 employees really need change management? Absolutely! The change strategy for startups is very different from the change strategy that will work for companies with hundreds and even thousands of employees.
Change can be as intimidating to entrepreneurs as it is for corporate managers. Change is that scary to many as it brings on the surface the fear of losing control over every process within the company. But the truth is no one ever can have full control of their business. You don’t know when your biggest customer will leave you or when the next global economic crisis will strike.
Business owners and managers know that it is important to focus on the things that you can control, even though in business you can never be fully in control. For corporate managers, it is more difficult to prepare for major change. They know it and this is the reason why change management trainings are not something new for the corporate world.
Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, rarely think about change management as something important for their startup. But it is! Startups are very fragile. Entrepreneurs may think that they have a clear view of their business just because their business plan is very well-crafted. By sticking to the initial plan and refusing to pivot when the situation requires it, the entrepreneurs doom their ventures to failure.
Entrepreneurs must think about change management as it will prepare them and their employees for the major changes that will happen over time. Some of them can be small like a change of the office space, others can be more important like having on board new investor or a new customer with demanding orders; a third can be truly significant as the acquisition of the company or a merger with another one.
Change management is essential as it helps the companies to minimize the negative effects of change. Of course, startups don’t need to organize very formal change management trainings in order to prepare for the inevitable change that will come with the growth of the company.
There are some simple things that can be implemented by the entrepreneurs, which can prepare each and every one of the team for the moment when a significant change occurs. Along building the motivation to change, the leaders must be fully transparent with their team about the course of direction they are planning to take.
Startup employees are often drawn to the starting company because of the strong business values. If the company is making a major turn in this direction, many employees may not fancy that change as it disagrees with their values.
Explain to the team why these changes should be taken. It will help them to accept easier the change and to adjust to the new circumstances.
Most startup employees are comfortable with taking risks. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be working in a startup, right? Yet, it is important to encourage all employees to think out-of-the-box and to look for innovative ideas that can make the startup stronger. The team should be aware of the situation of the company and each member should analyze the business environment.
Encourage the employees to look for opportunities, to establish stronger business relationships with the customers, to follow all emerging trends and to keep an eye on the competition. Encourage your employees to give feedback and make sure that you respond to all suggestions you receive.
Change management is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to foster leadership within the company. Through change management, the entrepreneurs prove the importance of each and every employee. It is a great way to build a strong company while you prepare for major changes.