Leading and managing change is a critical skill in accountancy firm.
Change management has never been more important than it is now, with things changing every day and every week and the expectations on your firm and your team sometimes being out of your control.
What’s clear is that any changes require thoughtful planning and sensitive implementation and above all consultation with, and involvement of, the people affected by the changes. If you force change on your team, then problems will arise. Change must be realistic, fair, measurable and achievable.
Lots of people in your team will fear change, change is something new, something unexpected and there is already so much of that going on.
So how do you adopt a successful change pattern in the face of so much uncertainty?
Get the rider, elephant and path metaphor to work for you!
Before embarking on any change in your firm, you must ask yourself:
How can I best ‘Direct the Rider’? – be clear with everyone on the change that will happen
- script the moves essential for progress
- point to the destination - this needs to be something everyone in the firm understands – even if now it is just as simple as working to a new set of priorities and checking in every day
- find the bright spots – even in this current climate there are positives to be had – so ask yourself “what change have we made that has worked and how can we do more of it” and be sure to share it with your team, a little bit of good news goes a long way
How can I best ‘Motivate the Elephant’? – tap into people’s feelings and emotions
- get the right people with the right emotional commitment and present evidence for the change that makes them feel something
- recognise the initial changes even if small – each result is a small victory, and this can be a big motivator
- grow your people by encouraging their commitment so far
How can I best ‘Shape the Path’? – facilitate the change – show them the way
- tweak the environment – make the right processes easier, show the benefit of them working for your team and firm
- make the change consistent and habitual – this could be achieved by something as simple as adding a regular checklist or check-in
- get the rest of the team on board - where everyone is focused on doing the same thing.