Part 1: Build a framework for change in your business 

Do you dream of growing your business? Would you like to, say, double, or even triple your business in the next 3 to 5 years? What’s stopping you from achieving that goal? 

Many business owners would like to make changes that will help their company grow and take on the challenges that growth brings. However, one of their biggest worries is that their employees will be so resistant to the change that it just isn’t worth the effort. After all, the business has got this far, surely it’ll be fine to continue doing things the way they’ve always been done… 

But big goals like doubling revenue require doing things differently from the way they’re done now - a transformation is needed. Most large businesses have gone through this, some more successfully than others. What is the secret to success?


First Steps:

There are three key stages to transforming your business:

a. Set a clear goal a vision of where you want your business to get to – and why 

b. Make an action plan which will close the gap between where you are now and your goal 

c. Execute that action plan – do the work required to make your goal a reality

 The first two stages are a paper exercise – they’re important, but they’re just theory, and they won’t get you to where you want to go. It’s only when you take action, following the steps in your action plan, that your business will start to change, and move you towards your goal. You can’t take all of those steps on your own, you will need to bring your team with you on the change journey. 

This is the biggest challenge with any change project: getting everyone in the team on board. The secret ingredient to a successful business transformation is bringing your team on the journey with you. The purpose of this document is to give you a roadmap to help you do that. 

Why is it that many employees find it so difficult to accept change? 9 times out of 10, it’s due to fear. They worry that they may not enjoy their new tasks, or that they might not have the capability to grasp the new tools or concepts – or that they might even lose their job. 

As the leader, the best thing you can do to help your employees is to put yourself in their shoes and imagine what this change is like for them. Sure, you can just tell them to do what you want them to do, you’re the boss. But the chances of a successful, sustainable transition to the new ways of working using that approach will be very low.


Building a Framework:

 Instead of imposing new way of working from above, a far more effective a method is to encourage employees to embrace the change, by involving them in the journey. You can do this by: 

- Providing them with information to understand the benefits 

- Providing training to show that you are investing in them 

- Giving them ownership of the change 

Here’s a framework to help you transform your business and bring your team on the journey to reach your goals, together.

a. Set a clear goal: A vision of where you want your business to get to – and why you want to get there.

 Not many small business owners have a clear set of goals for their business in 3-5 years’ time, as they are so caught up in what they need to do in the short term (understandably). But if you take some time to clarify your vision, you’ll find that it’s easier to make decisions in the short term about what’s important, and what is not. 

Working out why you want to reach your goals is an important step in staying motivated to reach it. Do you want to reach more customers and change their lives in some way? Do you want to increase your income so that you can provide more for your family? There are lots of reasons why you might want to reach your goals; be honest about yours, even if they are quite selfish! You don’t have to share them with your team, but they will help you stay focused on the prize. 

If you’re inspired by your vision and share your enthusiasm for it with your team on a regular basis, this will spill over to your employees and keep them motivated during the transformation. Big changes are a challenge for the whole team and knowing why they’re putting all this extra effort into this project will help keep the momentum going.

 Don’t worry about choosing the ‘wrong’ goals! They are highly likely to change over the next few years, and you’ll refine them as your business grows and evolves. They don’t have to be perfect; just getting something down on paper is a great start – you can always change them. Encouraging feedback from your team will only help to refine your goals. 

 Ideally, summarise your vision for your business on one page – this will ensure you capture the key points, and make it easy for your employees to read through.

b. Make an action plan: One which closes the gap between where you are now and your goal.

There are many ways to do this, but a highly effective action plan involves documenting all of your processes, so that your employees (and you!) are clear about the best way to do each task, to get the best result, every time. 

By documenting all of the repeating tasks in your business the way you want them to be done, they will run far more smoothly, significantly reducing any ‘firefighting’– fixing mistakes made due to lack of clarity, damaging customer relationships and costing you money. 

This will free up time for you and your team to spend on opportunities which come up that will grow your business and move you towards your goal. 

This type of action plan has been proven to deliver successful results time and time again, but it does require persistence and setting aside time to do the hard work up front, then once everything is documented, to regularly update and tweak them and keep your business ‘machine’ running smoothly.

For more information on the benefits of documenting your processes, visit www.simplyprocesses.com.


c. Execute your action plan: Do the work required to make your goal a reality

 Whatever your action plan might be, the key is to get full engagement from your team – you can’t achieve your big goals without them. The following steps will enable you to bring your team with you so you can successfully execute your action plan, transform your business and achieve your goals.


Part 2: How to engage your team to achieve your goals – 7 Steps

In Part 1, I provided a three-step framework to help you make a big change in your business. However, one of the biggest challenges business owners face is getting their team on board to support that change. In Part 2, I’ll share 7 steps to getting your team on board, so they’re behind it 100%.


The 7 Steps

1. Ensure your entire leadership team supports the change - without this, the project is highly likely to fail.

You and your leadership team need to be fully engaged in the project, in a visible and consistent way, all the way through. Set aside time to have an open and honest discussion about your goals and get their feedback – you’re bound to get some great ideas which will help clarify them. Your management team will appreciate the opportunity to be heard and provide input, which will help get their buy-in. 

 Your leadership team’s most important job is to remove barriers that your employees will inevitably face when going through any big change. Your front-line employees know their jobs, and what’s stopping them from doing it well, and at times they will need management’s support to find a solution. The best approach: ask employees to present up to three solutions, describe the pros and cons, and recommend the best option.


2. Get crystal clear on the benefits of the change - not only for the business but also for each individual employee.

This will be a key tool for motivating your team. For example, if you’ve decided to put processes in place to transform your business in a way that helps you reach your goals, some of the benefits you can communicate include:

• Benefits to the business: fewer errors, so lower costs and less time wasted allowing more time to go after opportunities; happier customers which lead to repeat business/referrals/testimonials and more revenue; happier employees, so less turnover

• Benefits to employees: fewer complaints from customers, less frustration with colleagues as everyone is clear on what tasks they do, software that works as it should, less firefighting and a calmer environment, meaning a more predictable day and leaving work on time


3. Don’t resist resistance to change – it’s going to happen!

Many people are wary or fearful of big changes at work. They think they may not enjoy their new tasks, or that they’ll feel they don’t have the capability to grasp the new tools or concepts – or that they might even lose their job. 


Many people are wary or fearful of big changes at work. They think they may not enjoy their new tasks, or that they’ll feel they don’t have the capability to grasp the new tools or concepts – or that they might even lose their job. 

 Consider ahead of time how to answer employee’s questions around these fears – and even better, provide answers to these questions without being prompted, as they might not have the courage to ask. Explain your growth plan, and where you see your team fitting into this plan – you won’t be able to achieve it without them. 

 Describe how you’ll invest in them, e.g. training, new projects, opportunities to maximise their strengths, etc. Describe the benefits of the changes you want to make to achieve your goals – your team might not fully appreciate them initially, it could take a while to sink in. Keep reminding them about your goals on a regular basis, and the benefits as well.

• They may have a very good point to make about why the new approach might not work, which needs to be addressed

• They’ll feel heard - that their opinion matters and their fears have been acknowledged, which is often all that people need to hear.


4. Make an employee engagement plan - one that involves all impacted employees from the beginning.

Once you’ve decided to embark on a project that you believe will help you reach your goals, sharing the plan with your employees in a considered way will go a long way to reducing friction from the team. 

In the beginning, you might not know all the details of how the change project will unfold. Start by clarifying about how the change project links to your goals, then describe key points, e.g. kick-off timing, an estimated finish date and roughly how much time will be required from employees per week. Be sure to reiterate the benefits to them and the business. 

 Identify people in the team who you think will be resistant to the change and spend time with these individuals to fully understand their issues. Also, identify anyone who could be a champion for the change, and leverage their enthusiasm.


5. Get all impacted employees involved in the design of the change - this helps get their buy-in.

When you embark on a change journey, even if you have a clear result in mind, you won’t know exactly how you’re going to get there from the beginning. You could try working it all out by yourself, but you’ll get far better results (and retain your sanity!) if you involve the whole team in finding the best way to get the result you want.

For example, if you’re putting in new project management software, ensure all employees are part of the workshops to clarify the design, keeping the result you want from the software in mind.

This provides two benefits: 

• You’ll get a much better result from the software solution, and; 

• You’re much more likely to get employees bought in to the change.

By involving your team in finding the best way forward, this is a signal that you trust their expertise and opinions, and that you don’t have all the answers. You may feel a little vulnerable in this position, but leaders who take this approach (while still providing guidance and coaching to ensure the business is heading in the right direction) often achieve results beyond their expectations.


6. Provide some incentives along the way - this helps keep motivation up.

 Big business transformations usually take several months or more from start to finish, and it can be tough to keep the momentum going, especially during busy periods, when short-term pressures often start to eat into time dedicated to the change project. 

Incentives along the way make a big difference when it comes to making progress through challenging times. Incentives don’t have to be costly; even introducing a little friendly competition with a weekly leader board, resulting in a small prize at the end for the top person or team, can be very motivating.

Celebrating key milestones is another great way to incentivise employees; set a couple of these out at the beginning of the project. Milestones could include completion of a major phase, and of course the completion of the project. Then, the fun bit - decide on a way to celebrate! Consider what would work best for your team and your budget; maybe order pizzas into the office for lunch one day or take everyone out for coffee and a catch up in a relaxed environment, or buy everyone a lottery ticket. They sky’s the limit on ideas! 

You don’t need to get too caught up in deciding what to do for incentives – as long as it’s genuine, your team will appreciate the effort you’ve gone to.


7. Make the change sustainable - put processes in place to ensure the change sticks.

You and your team have put a lot of effort in to make the change, but it’s easy for people to slip back into old ways of working, especially at first. The best way to avoid this is to document the way you want people to work in the new, transformed business. The temptation to go back to doing things the old ways is strong to start with, so making it easy for your team to move to the new ways of working is key.



People fundamentally just want to be heard, and feel that their worries have been taken seriously. If you have a clear vision, can explain the benefits of the change for the business and for the employees, and you spend time with employees (or each team) to explain this and ask for their feedback, you will set yourself up for success.

Some Final Thoughts

Even after all your efforts, you might find that some people in your team simply aren’t going to be a good fit after the change has happened and new ways of working are in place. 

This is the reality of being a business leader; you may have to make the tough decision to let some people go – not just for the benefit of your business, but for the rest of your team, and, in fact, for the individual as well. 

If the job they want to do really doesn’t fit with the vision you have for your business, they aren’t going to enjoy their work, or maximise their strengths. In the end, letting them go will be the best decision for everyone. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the points listed above, either because you don’t feel you have the required skills or experience, or you simply don’t have the time, you don’t have to manage the change alone. 

 You could identify someone in your business with the right skillset, or hire a coach or consultant to manage the project – someone with experience, who can take care of the details but also involve you along the way, so that you can make the key decisions which will move you towards your goals.

 By following the above steps, you will enable your team to help transform your business, and by bringing their ideas into the mix you will reach your goals in a way that you couldn’t imagine or achieve on your own. 

It won’t always be easy or go smoothly, but giving your team a feeling of empowerment, that you trust them to help find the best way to do the work that they do, they will help you navigate through the tougher times, and set you and your business up for success in achieving your goals.


Written by Sharon Cully, Owner of Simply Process

For more information, or to get in touch with Sharon with any questions, please go to:

W: www.simplyprocesses.com

E: sharon@simplyprocesses.com

LI: www.linkedin.com/in/sharon-cully