If your small business has recently gone through a change process, it can be tempting to put it behind you immediately and just get on with things. Resources in small organisations are tight, and change is often for commercially critical reasons so you may not want to spend time dwelling on process once it’s done.
But even if a formal process has concluded, your change is not yet successful, and reflecting on it, both immediately and further down the line, can be crucial in ensuring it is embedded effectively and doesn’t have significant negative impact after the event.
Were objectives achieved?
Refer back to the reasons for the change. You may have a business case that was produced, or something less formal, but hopefully the change process had clear objectives. Have these been achieved? Have the desired cost savings been made, improvements executed or problems solved? Some of the outcomes you were looking for will be easy to identify straightaway, some may require several months to assess their effectiveness.
To the extent objectives were achieved, take the time to celebrate that and acknowledge the contribution employees’ engagement in the process and support/hard work made to that.
Change is often uncomfortable and stressful, and if people can see the positive result and feel their efforts are recognised, any resentment at the impact will be greatly reduced.
What has been the impact?
As well as whether the specific objectives have been achieved, it’s worth considering what the impact has been, both on the organisation in terms of its operations, but also on the employees. Some of the impact may have been foreseen, some may not, but giving some consideration to it after the change process itself has finished will help you ensure that impact can be further minimised and recovered from quickly.
If employees have been left feeling disengaged, demoralised or unsettled, the process to manage that and improve it is an ongoing one, it’s not necessarily a case of ‘back to normal’ once the logistics of the change have been carried out.
Some of the impact you may already be aware of, but you could also consider seeking feedback, both immediately and after a period of time, to ensure your assessment is accurate.
How effective was the process itself?
It’s also worth taking the time to reflect on the process itself. Inevitably some parts will have gone well but other aspects could perhaps have been improved on. Change will happen again, so don’t waste any lessons that can be learned this time, or bury your head in the sand about things that didn’t go well. As well as helping you implement change more successfully next time, acknowledging errors or problems and apologising for them can be enormously effective in building back trust, which will help you enormously when it comes to getting back to full productivity and making the change as effective as possible.
If you’d like some advice on managing the aftermath of a change in your business, do get in touch.