To move from where you are in business now to a better place requires change.  Change in mindset, change in the way you do things and maybe even change in the mix of people you have working for you. Change is a necessary (and good) thing and something I deal with as part of what I do.  The problem is that a lot people don’t like change and will resist it, either pro-actively to your face, or passively in the background.

The natural tendency for company management or owners is to try and “sell” the change in order to speed up its implementation.  Try to paint a rosy picture of what life will be like.  When people listen to all the hype from the boss, they may publicly nod in approval, but privately they are thinking, “no bloody way mate that I am going along with that BS”.

A better way is to be more up-front and plan a longer time for people to effectively cope with it.  Systemise the change management, to a degree.  See, I have a system for pretty much everything.  This system is not mine however. It’s based on a checklist I found on the Australian Family Business Centre’s (FBC) website.  So with recognition to them, I have repeated it below.  Apology if the table formatting is a bit screwy, but I can’t seem to fix it.

Reason for failure Usual Symptoms Suggested solutions
Too much work to do
  •  Change happens reactively
  • Necessary changes (if any) are made after problems occur
  • New systems/manuals/books remain unactioned
  • Excessive hours in the office
  • All staff working to or beyond capacity
  • Deadlines missed
  • Start working in Quadrant II – Important but not Urgent activities
  • Delegate work to staff to free up some time
  • Schedule time to work ON your business
  • Appoint a champion to assist with changes
  • Identify Important changes needed in your business
  • Have a plan and stick to it
No planning for change
  • Multiple changes happening at once
  • No changes happening at all
  • Few changes fully implemented
  • Little being achieved – not getting ahead quickly enough
  • No clear responsibility for change
  • No clear deadlines or action plan
  • Use the 24 month transformation plan
  • Ensure each activity is implemented before starting on the next
  • Have a strategic plan and set clear goals for your business
  • Delegate activities and ensure staff are clear on their responsibilities
  • Set deadlines and stick to them – celebrate successes


No communication
  • Staff unclear about changes
  • Lots of resistance to change – new systems not being used
  • Reversion to “old” ways that are justified on the grounds that they “work” or are “easier”
  • Poor morale or motivation manifesting in lower productivity, lower quality or absenteeism
  • Increased  resignations
  • Increased activity of grapevine leading to (often inaccurate) rumours and gossip
  • Explain your vision and goals to the team and reinforce it regularly
  • Explain why changes are needed and how it will impact each staff member
  • Encourage staff to be involved in making changes, recognise and reward their involvement
  • Deal with objections and resistance immediately
  • Squash rumours and gossip immediately

There were other points that the FBC made about change; more symptoms of what happens when it doesn’t go well and what to do with them.  Email me here if you want the complete list.  If you also want some help identifying WHERE you should make some changes in your business and then HOW to implement them, then please include that in your email.


Andy Burrows.  The Trades Coach