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The Challenges Start Up Founders Face With Organisational Change

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You would naturally assume that anyone capable of setting up and running a business would be good at changing them when needed but this may not always be the case. It seems that it can be far harder for a start-up founder to accept that change may be needed, and perhaps more importantly identify see the why, what and how they should make any change.

When looking at how start-ups manage organisational change, we may need to look at the founder effect. The founder effect occurs when the vision and actions of the business founder suffocate new ideas, fail to recognise the need to grow and change or take action when needed.  It would seem that what makes a strong entrepreneur, doesn’t always leave them properly equipped to identify and implement changes successfully.

A founder, rightly, will instil their culture, procedures and business belief throughout their organisation, but this can make them more protective and less likely to identify any potential change, not only when it can benefit the business but when it most definitely is needed to grow or avoid disaster.

This is where an organisational change management expert can be highly beneficial. Comparing the skill sets of the best entrepreneurs to that of a successful change management consultant actually highlights why an entrepreneur is most likely not the best driver of change for their own business.

Different Strengths?

A good entrepreneur will be a visionary and seize opportunities quickly, likely single-minded and often more interested in the results over the way they get them. They disrupt established markets as they hit the ground with their business and their success is based on them carrying on regardless.

All of this sounds great, but surprisingly it is not so well received when they try to apply these methods to change within their own organisations.  Even when they recognise the need for change, they may find their industry disrupter ways mean they are not the best to make a successful change happen.

Entrepreneurs face challenges when they lack traits such as patience, the ability to accept the opinions of others and any reluctance to change from the workforce. They can struggle with the need to consensus build and take time to follow processes that are required to see a change through.

Even when a business founder has the right idea and approach, they are not always the right person to lead change within their organisation.  It can be as simple as the feeling that ‘they are the boss’, and this can lead to insurmountable barriers with the workforce that do not exist in the same way for a change management specialist.

An employee will never feel completely free to raise concerns or be relaxed if they are commenting on improvements for the business, as they would be with anyone else.  A business owner should therefore consider looking to outsource this area to an expert. They may have a budding candidate within their organisation already, who with the benefit of change management training could be the ideal person to lead changes through or seek to outsource to a change management consultant, and both have benefits.

A business founder serious about the change management process and seeking to identify, implement and benefit from changes will be better placed when they leave the task to someone else.

An outsider can be the best thing for your business.

By outsider, we mean a specialist with expertise in changing a business from one state to another.  Change management is definitely an area where the skill set required to handle people and the change process does not directly require a detailed knowledge of the actual business. A change manager will work with a project team to deliver the transformation. They will have an understanding of people mechanics, the training and probable business experience to ensure projects reach a successful conclusion.  This process requires an understanding and ability to manage the inevitable resistance a change stirs within the workforce.  They could be the right facilitator to explore what is possible without leaving anyone out.

Change consultants also have the time to help, as it is the sole purpose of their role is to facilitate the changes required within the workforce.  They could ensure that the rules are enforced, that the progress through the project is tracked and can objectively review feedback and creative input, without being bogged down by the jobs that keep the business moving.

A change management consultant’s role is to facilitate discussions and resolve conflicts in those with a vested interested in the project and have the skills required to move past the situation and move on.  These are skills that many business founders lack or have no need for, and yet they are most important to ensure the project’s success.

It could be extremely useful to have a single person guaranteeing follow up, accountability and implementation plans are carried through but this requires time. A change consultant’s ability to engage with the workforce and understand the effects of change on them is vital.  When this role is left solely to the participants or project management team, it is easy for both the workforce and the project to lose both momentum and interest.

Not letting go.

All business founders naturally want what is best for their business. They need to accept that handing over the reins in some areas, managing change, in particular, is actually what is best for their business. Understanding the purpose of change for the greater good of the business can be hard, and a busy business founder should not have the time to dedicate to it.  It is more than ironing out problems as they appear, but creating an environment that readily accepts changes as beneficial and something that is part of the business ethos. A change management expert will help facilitate and develop long term growth and business development.

Their ability to people manage will ensure that resistance by the workforce is managed. A happy workforce is a more productive one and a change manager will assist with combining change and continuous improvement within a business.