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The Caterer

Tips for dealing with change at work

27 July 2004
Tips for dealing with change at work


1. Cause and effect
First make sure there is a need to change what you are doing. Then establish whether this will facilitate a small improvement or whether a more radical programme of activity is needed. Think about the effects of the change on all people involved - your customers, the team, the company, yourself, your colleagues, your competitors and any others.

2. Planning
Spend time on the planning stage. Once you know what needs to be done, think through how you will achieve it and consult with others as appropriate. This is a time for detail. Think about who, what, how, where and when.

3. Overall objective
Make your overall objective clear and easy for everyone to understand and remember. For example - implement three new dishes by September; be the first in your town to offer massages; cut overheads by 40%.

4. Setting goals
Having decided on the main objective, set short-term goals so that everyone can measure progress. If these smaller goals aren't met, find out why not and focus on improving things rather than placing blame.

5. Dealing with resistance
Many people resist change, so have plans in place to respond to any resistance. Look at the change from another person's point of view and work out the advantages and disadvantages.

6. Preparing your team
Make sure you deal with any training and development needs so that your employees have the ability, motivation and confidence to deal with what will be required of them when the change takes place. Get your staff to help implement the change and be involved in the planning. It will help ensure better results if your staff feel they have contributed to the process.

7. Dealing with knock-on effects
Remember that changing some things will have a knock-on effect on others, so be sure to take a holistic approach to the planning process and monitor all areas throughout.

8. Communicating
Make sure your communication process is two-way - you need to listen too. You could arrange feedback meetings, or use suggestions slips, for example.

9. Striving to succeed
Make your staff want to see the change process succeed.

10. Monitor and review
Make sure you monitor and reassess your progress frequently. A common mistake is to engage in an elaborate planning process and then fail to execute the change fully. This can happen when plans are incomplete or contained errors that might not have been possible to anticipate at the outset. The overall objectives will remain the same but how they are achieved may change several times.

Common drivers of change:

  • The economy
  • The environment
  • Emerging technology
  • A change in competitor behaviour
  • The need to compete better
  • The need to perform better
  • The need to engage the workforce more
  • The need to meet customers' needs better
  • The need to increase the bottom line
  • The need to increase market share

Produced by Caterer-online in association with learnpurple

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