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Change Management For Tech Startups – Top Tips

Commonly Overlooked Change Management Strategies

Whether you are looking to start a new tech business or have an existing business that has ridden the storm of the past eighteen months, you most certainly will face the challenge of fast-paced ongoing change in the months and years to come. Unfortunately, building a sustainable, thriving tech business means that being able to adapt and change is an inevitable part of succeeding.

As a techie, you are likely to be far more comfortable with systems than with people. Yet for your business to be successful, you must be able to handle the people side effectively. Daunting as this is, it is a must because resistance to change by people (customers or employees) can scupper even the best laid plans. Surrounding yourself with human capital requires your understanding of how to identify the skills needed to embrace uncertainty and change. One thing is certain, the more expertise you have yourself in managing change and business operations, the better you will succeed. That’s where change management comes in.

But what is change management? Change management is most often an extension of project management and follows general underpinning guidelines and processes that support the successful implementation of new projects.

However, over 70% of projects that require a fundamental change – whether in technology and systems, business processes or mindsets – still fail. Failure of projects is often not because the project initiative is unworkable. More frequently it is due to poor management of the whole process, lack of communication, lack of employee buy-in, or simply change fatigue.

If change is constant, how can we ride the wave?

As any startup finds, it can seem like change is all you ever do to pursue firm business foundations and move forward with growth, resulting in a constant stream of change. Some initiatives will, of course, be successful, yet many will fall by the wayside. Lessons can be learned from failure but it is repeated failure that can lead to a need to proactively deal with uncertainty and change at the human level.

Some Areas To Focus On

  • Be On Show – No matter how busy you are, it is critical to get employees’ buy-in by explaining why change is necessary. Build a story for the changes and empower them to contribute and take ownership for implementation success. A top-down approach arbitrarily implementing changes will soon lead to dissent and disruption. A team that understands where the company is heading and their role in specific tasks will show increased performance and motivation.
  • Less Is More – Pace yourself. You will be more likely to succeed if you dedicate the time and resources needed rather than rushing along in a busy state, prioritising trivial tasks that have no impact on the results. Your team needs to see you being intentional about what you do, how you use resources, time, and money and set out a clear focus for yourself and them.
  • Agile Approach – Success is more likely to be achieved by implementing a pattern of small changes towards your larger goal. When small changes are implemented using methods based on Agile project management techniques, you will create an atmosphere that accepts and adapts more readily to change. Employees are more likely to resist vast changes delivered in one go.
  • Consider other ideas – such as approaching change from the bottom up and recruiting with change in mind. As a startup, building a team that embraces change can certainly be more manageable than changing mindsets. But if the team is already in place start by helping people see for themselves the benefits of the change. If you can remove the fear of change (which is a natural human emotion) then you will have already overcome a major hurdle before a project starts.

Effective and well-planned change management processes could see your business thrive in the fast-moving tech environment. This could help you build a business ethos that aligns values with culture and creates consistency for your team and clients, no matter what future changes are to come.

Published: August 9, 2021

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Michelle Symonds

Michelle Symonds spent many years in the oil industry and investment banking, designing and building software applications and websites, then later managing complex global IT projects. In 2009 she started a consultancy specialising in SEO to use her tech skills in the rapidly growing field of digital marketing, and so Ditto Digital was born. Ditto Digital devises and implements SEO campaigns based on in-depth data analysis and are very pro-active and flexible to adapt to changing requirements or external influences. Their top-level digital marketing services have enabled small companies to successfully compete with major brands in the online space. Find out more at DittoDigital or connect with Michelle on LinkedIn.

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