With a new year, brings new and improved business plans. These changes can range in sizes but will all need a similar planning process.

Big changes can be intimidating; the bigger the change, the bigger the risk. However, taking risks has consistently been linked to success. When considering implementing adaptations, planning ahead will be essential to help you avoid making costly mistakes.

Winston Churchill once said: “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

Developing on last years pros and more importantly cons is what allows businesses to progress. Being aware of what didn’t work and building strategies to amend this, is usually more beneficial than just focusing on the successes.

Put simply, you learn more from your mistakes.

Whether you’re a small, medium or large organisation, occasionally, a section, entire department or the whole business needs a restructure. All company’s looking to shake things up can benefit from following these 5 principles.

1. Communication

The most important trait in all successful relationships, whether personal or professional, is good communication skills. Be honest, be vocal and involve all members of staff in changes. Often, the restructuring process can be a daunting time for all those involved. The worst thing to do is leave your employees feeling isolated and disengaged.

Work to make regular announcements or create an internal procedures video that staff can revisit. A video can help explain the ‘why’ behind internal changes. You should also outline end goals, it’ll allow individuals to fully understand and support what you wish to achieve. This could then be followed up with either written or smaller video announcements of any key decisions and notable progression to keep the whole business updated and engaged.

If you involve and engage with employees, it’ll remove the usual trap of the ‘unknown’ and replace it with positive momentum towards ultimate goals!

2. Keep It Simple

Complexity can be costly. Keeping adaptations as simple as possible will ensure understanding across the board.

To minimise complexity, consider designing a wide strategy before getting into the finer details.

Avoid making leadership roles too complex. It’s crucial to balance elements such as; the number of staff directly managed or supervised, your staff’s ability to work unsupervised, the amount of ‘own work’ responsibilities managers have on top of supervising.

E learning systems and video training can help lower the burden for managers. When planning a restructure, these tools should be considered.

3. Pre Planning

Having a strategy is key for success. You should build up a draft of goals and challenges you’ll face whilst trying to reach them. Look at the various impacts to your business. Does your financial reporting structure need to change? Will your customers and clients be affected at all? If so, communicate with them. Keeping your employees and contacts happy through the process will allow for an easy change over. If kept in the dark, things can easily take a turn for the worst.

How well you conduct your strategy will have a direct impact on how quick and efficient these changes will be. Announcing any changes before the details are set in stone can create an uneasy atmosphere in your organisation.

Be clear and consistent to avoid problems down the line.

4. Compromise

Remain flexible. You don’t want to cut your resources too fine.

Even if you’ve got a strong, clear plan and you’re striving to optimise efficiency, try to avoid going full steam ahead instantly.

Whilst changes are taking place you’ll want to have some fall back options; just incase not everything goes exactly to plan.

Keep Murphy’s law in mind; ‘Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.’

Whilst implementing changes, be aware of gaps in the new structure and allow yourself and management time to respond.

5. Follow up

Receiving feedback internally and externally is a great way to become aware of issues that otherwise may be overlooked. Perspective is everything!

Seek out internal focus groups and ask their opinion, maybe offer a suggestion box that’ll be reviewed each week? If there’s a correlation of trends, then you can address each issue effectively.

This all ripples back to communication. The more you inform, the less likely your staff are to worry and for rumours to arise to decrease positive momentum in your organisation.

If you work to value your colleagues and your clients; plan, communicate and respond quickly, the transition will be a positive experience for all.

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