Will you do us the honor and join our team of authors?

To write for the SohoBlog, contact us at [email protected]
(Shakespearean prose not required.)

Being the Change Agent of Your Business: Six Easy Steps

I and my fellow writers often use this platform to introduce new approaches and frameworks that we believe are beneficial to small businesses. Whether its coopetition, comparative advantage, positive psychology, and so on, we only share it here because we truly believe these approaches are extremely relevant for SMBs active in today’s business environment. We write about these issues because we hope that they will touch at least some of you, readers, and will encourage you to implement them in your businesses.

We know, however, that implementing these approaches is not an easy task. We understand that it requires making some changes in your business and that are often hard to make. That’s why I will dedicate this post to talking about change and how it can be made easier or at least more structured and predictable. I will base it on a six-step change model composed by Richard Tanner Pascale and Jerry Sternin that was published in an article in Harvard Business Review.

Step 1: Make the group the guru. Rather than crowning a change leader or mentor, have the group that is affected by the change lead it together. The change process must be owned and executed by the people who actually need to embrace it. In the SMB case, even if the owner is the one who decides a change needs to be made, it is important to have the entire team involved directly and deeply in designing and implementing the change.

Step 2: Reframe with facts. In most if not all cases, a change is done in order to face a problem; fully understanding that problem and analyzing it in an out-of-the-box way (aka reframing) plays a key role in creating meaningful change. Reframing the problem with facts takes three steps: First, understand its conventional presentation. Then look for businesses that dealt with it in an exceptional way and, third, try to learn how they did it.

Step 3: Make it safe to learn. The status quo is a very comfortable place to be in. Many people, especially when it comes to their livelihood, prefer to avoid potential risks and therefore avoid making much-needed changes, even if in the long run the changes would mean a better future. A change must be supported with an accepting atmosphere that promotes learning and rejects ridicule or criticism.

Step 4: Make the problem concrete. Being straightforward and honest about the problem and the changes it requires is critical to the success of the change process. This way, problems cannot be swept under the rug and ignored; they have to be handled and faced.

Step 5: Leverage social proof. Following the old saying “seeing is believing,” it is important to prove to the people going through it that the change is necessary, and that it will bear fruit eventually, by presenting them with real-life change success stories they can relate to.

Step 6: Confound the immune-defense response. When implementing a change in a business, you should always expect to face at least some resistance and avoidance. This is why it is important to prepare an arsenal of answers to meet the concerns of challengers and provide your team members with a complete tool kit that will help them perform their best in the post-change era.

I hope this six-step change model opened your eyes to the fact that change is well within reach if you want it. I think that alongside the different business methods we often present here, this intuitive change model can help SMB owners implement the change they believe is a part of their business’s journey.

Related Posts

Agent of Your Business
Big Data Visualization Tools for SMBs

It Can Be Easy Being Green

5 Steps To Create An Ideal Home Office
Tags: , , , , , , , ,