Where have you been? What are your plans for 2017? For many of us, the holidays are a time of celebration and the new year is a time of reflection – I’m no different. Thanksgiving was a fun-filled time of laughter and antics. The month of December promises to bring more of the same. And, knowing myself the way I do, that quiet week between the 25th and the 31st will be filled with silence, thought and preparation.

2016 has been a year of growth and change. When our office changed national affiliations, it was incredibly exciting and frightening at the same time. Change brought with it stress, creativity, chaos, and plenty of new responsibilities. I’m sure we could have done a better job during the transition, but I learned so much and thought I’d share some of what I learned.

True transformation causes issues with people – people in new roles, people confused, people learning new skills, and people who are resistant to change. The key to mitigating this is two-fold. First, have a clear vision and direction for where you want to go. Second, communicate that vision until everyone understands.

True acceptance will never happen if the leadership team isn’t 100% behind the change, and transformation can only happen when every layer of the company gets involved in the implementation of the change program. Creating ownership creates buy-in.

Assess your current organizational culture. Identify the core beliefs, values and behaviors that guide behavior and use them as launching points for change. For example, if you have a culture where service is important, change that involves improving service should be communicated by connecting it to the core value that is already in place. Why re-invent the wheel? If the change does not connect to a core value, take a good hard look at the value AND the proposed change. At the very least, the disconnect will need to be addressed.

The business world is increasingly fast-paced and the success of any business is dependent on their ability to foresee, prepare for and manage change. Organizations must respond to the ever-changing political environment, technological advancements, employee demographics, global capital markets and the rise of instantaneous electronic communication. In 2016 we, at Found Advisors, learned (sometimes the hard way) that being proactive and having a plan in place will allow for smoother transitions, even while in the middle of chaos generated change.

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