Small business leaders “prepared for change” as Brexit looms

89% of business leaders anticipate further changes, with 43% claiming to be not worried or not worried at all

UK small business leaders have claimed they are “fully prepared for change” as the country makes plans to exit the European Union, according to The State of Leadership & Change report from Full Potential Group.

The survey of 1,000 business managers found that 89% are anticipating further changes within their organisations, while 43% are either not worried, or not at all worried.

The report also revealed that most organisations are planning to make the same top four changes in light of Brexit including to source additional markets outside the EU (31%), restructure and cut costs (26%), reorganise (18%) and relocate (13%).

Encouragingly, 76% of small business respondents said that leaders are getting better at managing through change and just 9% that they are getting worse. As evidence of this, 64% claimed their business had met its objectives for change within the last five years – only 10% hadn’t.

As a result of meeting objectives for change, 62% said that productivity had improved, 33% had seen increased profitability and 32% improved customer satisfaction.

66% of respondents cited agility and the ability to respond to changing markets as one of the top three factors that will influence business success over the next five years, followed by a recruitment and learning and development policy (52%) and strengthening leadership and management capability (42%).

Business leaders stated that a lack of understanding and communication on the reasons for change (40%) is the main factor that could hamper the success of change initiatives, followed by too much emphasis on process and not on people (27%), an excess of change causing ‘change fatigue’ and poor motivation and staff morale (14%).

In July, it was revealed that 33% of business leaders had already made changes to their business in the wake of the referendum.

Carole Gaskell, managing director of Full Potential Group, commented: “These results are especially promising when in the past, it’s commonly been found that 70% of change initiatives fail to deliver results.

“It’s a sign of greater investment in developing leader’s skills and in measuring change. 12 years ago we found that companies weren’t measuring change but now you would struggle to find a human resources and business strategy without metrics to demonstrate the commercial impact of cultural initiatives.”

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