Today’s post is from a guest – Mary Gardam, the Principal Quality Advisor at LogiQA. She brings us some useful tips on business systems to help you in managing change:
Change in business is inevitable. Whether it is driven by external factors such as changes to legislation or internal change such as new leadership, systems play an important stabilising role. In uncertain times systems will help ensure your business is robust enough to roll with the punches.
1. Leadership Change
A change in leadership can be unsettling to a business, especially if the transition has not been managed well. Having appropriate communication systems in place will reduce the distraction and disruption often caused during the transition when staff can be pre-occupied with thoughts of “What will this mean for me?” Keeping staff up to date with any news or involving them in forming the new direction of the business will be great for morale. Having documented systems in place also allows for the business to continue without being reliant on the new management to make rushed decisions.
2. Staff turnover or business growth
If you’ve decided you need to bring on new staff, you’ve had a valuable team member decide to move on or your office lotto syndicate wins the jackpot could your business cope? Training and induction frameworks, job descriptions and documented procedures will ensure that your newly appointed team members are up to speed as quickly as possible. As for managing the lotto win scenario…hopefully this is where your years of great leadership karma are returned and your staff will stay on for a while until you can recruit….we can hope!
3. Act of government
A change of government or even a change in government policy or legislation can have a big impact on your business. Something as routine as a change to the Workplace Health and Safety Act can have a significant impact on how work is carried out and the cost of doing business. The good news is that there is usually some lead time before the changes come into effect and these changes are often talked about at length in the media before they are implemented. This is where a comprehensive planning process is important so that these impending changes and their potential impacts are discussed well before the change is required.
4. Act of God or Man
Much more unpredictable is an Act of God, such as flooding, bushfires or loss of services or facility from storm damage. Equally an Act of Man including criminal acts such as arson, wilful damage, vandalism, data theft and hacking can be devastating to business. While it is impossible to prevent these events from occurring it is possible to reduce the severity of the impact on your business by assessing the risk and implementing measures to reduce the risk wherever possible eg. offsite data and website back-ups. It is also important to have a detailed business continuity plan that addresses how the business would continue operation in the event of loss of premises or other disruptive events. An emergency management plan may also help your business to reduce the loss experienced in the first instance. It goes without saying that having appropriate insurance is a must.
5. Change in direction
Whether it is a change in business offering or entering a new market entirely, careful planning is required to ensure that the business is prepared and that your transition is smooth and successful. Analysis of the business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities in the new space and potential threats, along with a solid implementation plan should be completed. Impacts to all areas of the business should be assessed and communicated and a plan to reduce risk to the business formed. This may include changes to existing processes to keep up with demand or outsourcing. Updating existing procedures, communicating these changes and allowing for additional training prior to the change taking effect will help the business to be ready.
Systems act to cushion your business and make it more resilient in the face of change. They enable you to maintain business as usual or get back to it as quickly as possible so that any negative impacts to reputation, increased costs and loss of service or production are kept to a minimum at a time where they have the potential to cause major issues.
Have you used systems to help your business cope with change?
Mary Gardam is the Principal Quality Advisor at LogiQA, a Quality Management Systems consultancy based in Brisbane. She has held a number of senior quality roles in the scientific and healthcare fields but is now enjoying introducing small business to the benefits of business systems. Mary is a contributor for Flying Solo and she also lectures in Quality Systems at GriffithUniversity, Brisbane.