So you’ve decided that your business needs to change – but how do you ensure this change is successful and beneficial? And very importantly, that it is long lasting?

One way of addressing these issues is to bring in outside support, for example in the form of an interim change manager, who can provide you with a platform to promote creative thinking whilst developing the culture and direction of the business.

A successful change manager is expert at turning a business threat or period of upheaval into an exciting development opportunity. They develop an organisation and its internal skills to enable it to support and deliver change. They create clear lines of accountability, whilst observing and respecting a company’s informal networks which are not shown on organisation charts.

Early wins will excite and energise your team. By promoting those that have the insight and drive to advance the bigger picture you enable them to lead the critical mass of people required to support the change. An awareness of what has worked well is important to create a link with the past, to build on recent successes and drive things forward in the future.

By choosing the right market focussed performance targets you can begin to drive the right behaviour and develop an agile outward looking culture. These metrics can also help prevent backsliding into old habits and can create a virtuous circle of data gathering, analysing, and testing. In this way the team will develop their awareness of the opportunities, value and importance of doing things in a different way. It is also very important to benchmark this change.

To begin with, benchmarking will expose any internal resistance to change amongst the existing team members. But longer term, the aggressive performance targets that can come out of benchmarked capability reviews will force your executives to rethink business models.

They will challenge the existing strategy that focuses on maintaining the same, steady state without introducing change. So, now you’ve restructured and redefined your business process and culture; vastly improved performance; and defined and met clear targets – what’s next? Well the next challenge is to continue making tough decisions in order to keep developing your internal business capabilities so that you always stay one step ahead of the competition.

And that is one of the joys of being in business – once you’ve succeeded in one thing you just move on to the next challenge.