Change is inevitable. Key leaders will retire or move on. New locations will be opened or a smaller business will be acquired. Technology will improve your operations, but disrupt your workflow for a season. No business, including yours, is immune to these and many other changes.
MJM’s account team has helped navigate all manner of business transitions for clients. Here’s their advice for handling change well.
Communicate change from the inside out. Start internally with those most vested in the organization and work your way out. Once everyone on your team knows, move on to your referral networks and vendors. Announcing your news to the public should be your last step.
It’s tempting to skip it, but a basic communication plan complete with a tentative timeline is a must before announcing any change. The process of drafting the plan will bring up logistics you may not have anticipated. It also provides a reference so that everyone tells the same story consistently and confidently. You can’t take back your words and a communication plan will help you get them right the first time.
Acquiring another business is a common transition, and it’s wise to acknowledge that, while your ultimate goal is one unified team, the business you’re acquiring comes with an already-established culture. You can move the needle, but don’t expect to do it overnight.
You’ve likely had the benefit of months of research and time to get used to what you’re planning to roll out, but your team will need time to get used to your proposed changes. Be patient and receive their pushback graciously. Teams tend to come together once they’ve had time to get used to the changes.