If the GPS system in your car gives you a route (careful planning) and you discover that a bridge is out on your path, do you continue driving anyway? By definition, a change project represents something new. It can’t be planned perfectly. If we’ve done our work up front, the change initiative makes sense strategically. Seldom do I see projects that should be shelved. The job then is to fit the change to the organization, molding both sides to properly fit together.
|To integrate the change properly, we need to constantly test our change initiative against the reality of the environment. Then adjust course as necessary.|
There is no greater win for the perception of our change initiative than to take feedback, and make an adjustment that improves the end result. Our constituents feel heard and appreciate the wisdom of the leadership team.
From a mind-set perspective, we should always be testing and validating the logic of our change initiative. Because, guess what? All of the front line staff who we are asking to change certainly will test the project’s logic.
It is not a sign of weakness to adjust the scope or rework a change initiative once it has started. This takes courage but this capability is a critical success factor for any change leadership philosophy.
Each of the components of Change Project Management – The Next Step are part of this testing and validation process.
Stakeholder Analysis – In each step of the stakeholder analysis process, we compare the proposed changes to how the stakeholder will interact with the changes. Not everyone may love each change but identifying ways to integrate the change for each stakeholder helps shape the change initiative for success. For example if the proposed change puts an unforeseen added burden on the marketing department, perhaps adjustments can be made early on as these needs are identified.
Change Planning/Monitoring Workshop – This portion of the change system approach provides a number of formal tests for our change project. We look at the complexity of the change, areas of resistance, strength of the team, and organizational impacts. Basically, all the barriers are identified allowing for adjustments to the change initiative.
The Foundation for Change – This important component of the communication campaign requires that we answer the all-important WHY question about the change initiative. Sometimes change initiatives start from a gut feel about the business. The Foundation for Change is where we prove the strategic tie-in to the business for the project.
Communication Campaign – A solid communication campaign provides a constant feedback loop from everyone involved with the project. These challenges from the field can help shape the project into something that can be seamlessly integrated. As the communication campaign helps make the project “real” for people the insights—and yes, sometimes complaints—are invaluable.
Change Breakthrough Analysis – There is no better way to elicit feedback and test your concept than frequent change breakthrough analysis sessions. In my experience, most in-project innovations stem from the information gathered during these sessions.
Change Readiness – This is where the rubber meets the road so to speak and you get to find out what it will really be like in the changed environment. Even at this late stage, tweaks are possible that can make a huge difference in acceptance and engagement.
Our constituents look to us for wisdom. They want us to be smart. There is usually a cautious optimism. They want us to lead them to a successful conclusion and will help if we ask them. Because large change projects occur over time, it is a sign of wisdom to adjust and adapt our projects as times change. The Change Project Management – The Next Step system puts the tests in place to constantly analyze and if necessary adjust course so that we meet the return on investment goals set at the beginning of our change.