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Starting up and dealing with change in your business

When going through any change – be that changing an established organisation that is up and running or growing a business, you need to think about 4 factors that will make your change successful.

change management

The 4 key factors

1. How hard does what you are doing feel?

2. What is the level of excitement that is associated with the change?

3. What is the risk of failure at that time?

4. How much energy is needed to ensure success?

If you need to remember these – I call them the HERE model (Hard, Excitement, Risk, Energy)

There are two very important things to remember to make this work for you.

1. These change at every phase of your change

2. You can control all of them

Change happens in 4 phases. Before you start, the start, the middle and the end. I want to focus on the start and the middle as they are the most interesting and where you need to invest the most to make successful change happen.

How it feels at the start

Excitement is high – for now. The start is that phase from idea to reality. As you take your business or change out to the world, you will have wins and losses. You cannot control this and excitement will drop in this phase – without a doubt, moving from a drawing board to reality will never, ever be a smooth and criticism free process.

It doesn’t feel hard – yet. Its hard to fall behind where you want to be this early in your change. Assuming you knew where you were starting from, and are channelling your excitement into bringing people and customers with you, it won’t feel hard, yet.

Now is the time to increase the energy you think you need. Excitement and energy can go hand in hand. The start is a time where you don’t need to expend huge amounts of energy – after all if you are building up a new business, every client is a new client. Every product is a new product. Every pound, dollar or yen is new revenue. But, now is the time to invest your energy to make more progress. When things get to the middle and become much less exciting and feels much harder as your diary fills and your evenings become your time to think, this early period will seem golden.

Risk goes up. Ideas never hurt anyone. They also never made anyone rich or successful. Actions make people successful. But with action comes risk. The risk of failure is not high at the start, you have time to correct whatever isn’t going according to plan. You can choose where to invest based on what your people and customers are telling you. But it creeps up as you move from the start to the middle

In this phase of change, the basic formula for success is

Reduce Risk = Channel Excitement + Increase Energy

Life in the middle

Here is where things get a little sticky. Most of the factors that make change happen are counting against you. This is the time where managing and controlling change is key. The energy you applied at the start will pay back in this phase. But here’s why its tough

Excitement hits an all time low. Excitement usually comes from two areas. Starting something new or finishing something. The middle is bereft of both, things you want to happen – hiring people, getting new products out, communicating new elements, launching campaigns – all take longer than you expect. And the end is not quite close enough to motivate you over the line.

Thriving through the middle of change takes an intense amount of energy. The word I often use is attrition. In the absence of excitement, you need to call on your energy. Those meetings you bounced into with new clients and stakeholders early on, are now clouded by the existing clients and change that is going on.

Risk hits an all time high. Low excitement, the need for intense energy means this is where most changes fail. Change has also gone from being real to being very real. You are moving from people liking your product to people paying for it, turning relationships into revenue.

It feels hard. You need to call on all of the work you did before you started and at the start to make this phase successful. You cannot change how hard its going to feel, but by applying energy and being aware of the factors counting against you can make this phase successful.

The basic formula for success in this phase is

Managing the risk = Intense Energy + Managed Excitement + Awareness

Further Information

This article was kindly written for Company Bug by author and change leader, Ian Coyne.

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Ian’s book, Make Change Happen: Get to grips with managing change in business, is out now from Pearson, priced £14.99.

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