Change management in small and medium-sized enterprises: The advantage of agility

In today's dynamic business world, change has become inevitable. Companies must adapt and evolve to remain competitive. While large corporations often struggle with bureaucratic structures and sluggish decision-making processes, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can have an advantage. Thanks to their smaller size, flatter hierarchies and natural willingness to change, they can adapt more quickly to new circumstances.

Person at a desk

Flatter hierarchies enable quick decisions: Rapid decision-making processes help SMEs to implement changes more effectively and quickly adapt to new market conditions.

More willingness to change in the corporate culture: Due to their smaller size, SMEs are often more flexible and agile than large companies. SMEs are used to adapting to new situations and adjusting their strategies and processes accordingly. Change management thus becomes a natural extension of corporate culture.

Smaller size encourages open communication: While large companies struggle with communication barriers and silo thinking, employees in SMEs often have closer relationships and a stronger bond with the company. This creates an open communication culture where ideas, concerns and suggestions can be easily shared. This ensures that all employees are involved in the change process.

Change management is critical for companies of all sizes, but SMEs have a unique advantage. Their smaller size, flatter hierarchies and natural willingness to change enable them to respond quickly and effectively to change. But for change management to be successfully implemented, it also requires a change in mindset. According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR) article "Change Management Requires a Change Mindset"¹, a critical factor in the success of change management is the attitude towards change of the executives.

Change mindset of executives

Managers in SMEs must be prepared to accept and lead change themselves. It is important that they are aware that change management is not only a task of the management, but that every employee can and should contribute to it. An open and positive mindset towards change creates a corporate culture in which innovation is encouraged and new ideas are welcomed.

Open communication with employees facilitates the change process

The HBR article also emphasizes the importance of clear communication during the change process. Managers in SMEs should explain to employees exactly why changes are necessary and what benefits they can bring. Transparency, authenticity and the exchange of information help employees to better understand the change process and to actively participate.

It is also important that SMEs provide the necessary resources and support for the change process. This includes training and education for employees to provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully manage change.

Overall, SMEs can further strengthen their agility advantage by not only relying on their flat hierarchies and readiness for change, but also by developing a changed mindset in terms of change management.

Through active leadership involvement, open communication and the provision of resources, SMEs can seize their opportunities to successfully manage change and compete in the ever-changing business world.

Are you facing change processes in your team or company? Are you looking for support with an upcoming change? Feel free to contact us. We will support you in your project and help you to fully exploit the agility of your company as well as to effectively manage change. We look forward to helping you increase your company's success through effective change management implementation.

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⁠⁠¹ Rinne, A. (2023, May 18). Change Management Requires a Change Mindset. Harvard Business Review.