Avoid pain in business change

Does business change always have to be painful?

 

BY SARAH WILLCOX

Image of first aid box for article on an avoid painful business change
Sarah Willcox business change consultant

Sarah Willcox is the Founder of Fairisle Consulting

I attended an in-person mdhub networking event recently, and really enjoyed being in a room with people again. Early on we got to the point when you say what you do, and why you do it. I must be a bit out of practice because I didn’t run through our nicely honed elevator pitch. I just said “I want to help take the pain out of business change’.

A ridiculous thing to say?

This might seem a ridiculous thing to say. Completely pain free change is an impossible task. But it felt liberating to say what I actually think. Change is hard and it can be painful. It is sometimes (but not always) complicated. It often requires bringing people together to achieve an objective that not all of them like, or even understand.

But what do we mean when we talk about ‘pain’ in this context? Here are three examples which I imagine most of us will have experienced:

Resistance to change

This is often hard to tackle as it crops up in many different forms, These can range from people raising endless objections, to the occasional outright refusal to cooperate. We’ve found that resistance crops up in pretty much every change initiative. Which is why we’ve developed a method for analysing different types of resistance, and techniques to resolve them. In many cases you can actually convert the energy of resistance into impetus for change. Learn more from our ‘Resistance to change’ approach.

Image of building work illustrating the Fairisle article Building for success

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Iterative and incremental business change

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Change gets outsourced

It can be tempting to ‘leave it to the experts’ and bring in a team of external consultants. Unfortunately this often leads to change being done to you, rather than with you. Better to work with people who know that meaningful change has to align with your culture, values and vision. See why in our article ‘Don’t outsource your change’.

Lack of co-ordination

We’re sometimes asked to step in where a change initiative has stalled or gone off the rails. This is often because there is no clear way of planning and delivering desired changes. Or even worse, the method used is so complicated that more time is spent on paperwork than on delivery. We’ve found that helping people to adopt a simple and clear delivery method gets things moving. Read how in our article ‘Iterative and incremental business change’.

One of things we do is help you avoid pain in business change. I feel strongly that being honest about what change entails is a vital first step. It means you can then address these issues realistically and in a supportive way.

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Acceptance of business change

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Creative solutions

Working in this way means that you find creative solutions to the problems you have before you. Your team will grow in understanding and develop good working relationships. And you’ll end up thinking differently about the challenge you face. Ultimately, the change you’re trying to make doesn’t need to feel as risky, overwhelming or expensive to solve as it might first seem.

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