Whether your salon is in a constant state of flux or keeping steady, change is a non-negotiable part of business. “Change not only stirs the pot, it often gets people focused on a specific project, behavior, objective or goal,” says Neil Ducoff, founder and CEO of Strategies. Ducoff offers these tips to make transitions occur more smoothly:

* Put everything on the table. Too many leaders fall into the trap of keeping individuals, groups, systems or elements of the business off limits to change. Be prepared to go all the way, or don’t change at all.

* Stay true to your values. Don’t allow the need for results to compromise your values; those values must guide all change initiatives.

* Go deep. If you’re going to begin a change initiative, don’t dance around the issues. Go deep enough to create positive change where it counts—in your business culture.

* Think big, think long-term. There are times and conditions that call for big-thinking change that will prepare your company for the future. Evaluating what needs to change means out-of-the-box thinking.

* Change takes collaboration. The energy of change comes from collaborative innovation and change-friendly employees.

* Change takes time. Most change initiatives fail because of unrealistic expectations and timelines. Basic system changes can take up to 18 months to stick. Major culture shifts can take years.

* Re-think strategic planning. Do strategic planning as often as necessary (quarterly, if that’s what it takes), to keep on top of change, and to stay realistic with your goals.

Reprinted from Strategies magazine, the premier publication for business growth. For more information on subscriptions, seminars and coaching services, visit Strategies online at www.strategies.com.