I may as well call this “policing” because that is very much what it feels like sometimes.
You do all this work to figure out the best processes for you and your business, figure out all the details of who does what, when and how often, automate the pieces that can be automated and then close your eyes and press that big button “GO”, close your eyes, hold your breath and hope it works.
This is, hands down, the most difficult part about creating processes and systems for my clients. Not because they are resistant to it, but because change… any kind of change… even if you WANT it, is H. A. R. D.
In the corporate world, this is called “change management”, and it is such a large part of any type of change that there are departments solely dedicated to figuring out plans to help the employees make the change successfully.
I have a few thoughts on the matter, from my experience in multiple ERP conversions (tech changes at an organization), as well as implementing processes for small businesses. There are some very specific things that will help make these changes successful, for the business owners, as well as any team members.
Perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle, is to have the belief and support of the team leader and CEO. Make sure they DRINK THE KOOLAID. If the CEO of the business or leader is at all unsure or not supportive of the changes that are incoming, then the rest of the team will follow suit. Even if the business is just 1 individual… if there is no excitement about the processes, if it isn’t one of the most important parts of their future plans, then chances are, it won’t be followed and won’t provide the savings in time or money that it is intended. If you invest in outlining your processes, creating SOP’s and having a well-oiled machine, you must be a fierce advocate of the end result that it will provide. HAVE FAITH and express excitement at every turn.
Adequate Training, WHEN it’s needed:
When I work with clients, this is the piece that I hear being the most concerned about. While every organization is different (and every process and technology has it’s own needs), giving training WHEN and HOW it’s needed is almost like meal-planning for your family. Taking care when planning the training, taking into consideration the audience that needs the training is important for it’s success.
Adults learn differenty than children, the typical “sit in a classroom or through an hour-long training” may not be the most effective way to train. It is a good way to give an overview of a subject, but adults typically want to learn something WHEN they need it, otherwise it will filter through their brains as “interesting, but not vital information” and will soon be forgotten. Breaking up that training into bite-size chunks with small videos, Checklists and SOP’s in a place that can be easily accessed when they reach a specific part of a process is the most effective way I have found to help a team find their way around a new process or technology.
Are you going to roll out a new process piece by pieces to one person at a time? Are you going to rip off the bandaid with go-live date that they all have to comply by? Do you have the support you need for either one of these roll-outs? Do you have change champions that can act as support to those that need it? All of these should be considered early on in the process outlining session. Depending on the changes being made, or the technology being introduces as WELL as the personalities of your team, you will need to figure out the best way to serve their needs and keep your productivity level up.
My personal opinion is to make a clean change in the business expecting some bumps in the road, but typically this is the fastest way to ensure the new process is adopted.
Always have a way for your team to ask questions, give feedback and be a part of the solution whenever possible. Having your team support, from the ones that do the work is super-important. It also will open your eyes to ways to improve the next time you improve or add a new process. The communication aspect encourages the team to have ownership over the business as well and improves moral during times of change.
This is also a really good way to create an FAQ document to help support the organization. When new people come in and your business grows, you will already have a list of questions that have been asked to get them onboarded and up to speed as quickly as possible.
It is not uncommon for a client to be excited about saving time and investing in technology to help them do so. However I see it time and time again the excitement wane once they realize that it does take them a little work to see the change through to completion. No change is ever easy, because it takes a flexible mindset to ‘ride the wave”, and put in the work to get to the time and cost-savings.
Using these tips from the beginning of the process till the end will help ensure the excitement and anticipation will carry-on and make your process changes a success.
I’d love to hear from you! What have you learned in your time as a small-business owner OR a corporate employee that helps you work through process changes and implementation?
What have been your biggest frustrations?