Conditions for Change Assessment

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Conditions for Change Assessment

A quick assessment to make sure everything is in place to make this change a success.

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by Rick Maurer

The difference between successful changes and those that don’t work has nothing to do with the quality of the idea. It is the human side of the planning and implementation strategies that usually marks the difference between success and failure. See how well your organization fares.

Consider a current major change – such as a reorganization, reengineering, a merger, quality improvement effort, or the application of a new software system – and answer the following statements. Ideally, you should be able to answer “Yes” to all 15. Pay attention to those you answer “Somewhat” or “No”; these could cause you problems.

Build Strong Working Relationships

Your change management plan:

1. Identifies all parties who have a stake in the outcome.
__ Yes __ Somewhat __ No
2. Includes a way to get all these stakeholders involved in the planning and implementation. If it is unrealistic to get all individual parties involved, a significant cross-section (including a diagonal slice of the organization) is encouraged to take part in planning.
__ Yes __ Somewhat __ No

Maintain Clear Focus

You need long-range focus (goal, vision) as well as an ability to focus on the level of support or opposition you face today. Focusing near and far at the same time is difficult. Your plans should include ways to keep your sights clearly on both the goal and the current situation.

Your change management plan:

3. Allows you to keep your long-range goal in mind throughout the process, even when it might be tempting to get immersed in the details of the project or overwhelmed by the resistance.
__ Yes __ Somewhat __ No
4. Provides ways to monitor the extent to which support is building or waning.
__ Yes __ Somewhat __ No
5. Provides context for the change to stakeholders. What is the business reason for the change? What are the conditions that led up to this change?
__ Yes __ Somewhat __ No

Embrace Resistance

The change strategy should include ways to actively invite opposition. When people believe they have something to lose by this change, your ability to work with resistance will be a critical factor in determining whether the change will be a success or a failure. Most often, organizations attempt to overpower or ignore resistance. This is often a tragic mistake.

Your change management plan:

6. Includes ways to keep the doors of communication open throughout the planning and implementation of the change.
__ Yes __ Somewhat __ No
7. Includes multiple ways to get beneath the surface and hear what people really think about these changes.
__ Yes __ Somewhat __ No

Respect Those Who Have a Stake

Your change management plan:

8. Lets people know that you’ve heard their concerns and value their input.
__ Yes __ Somewhat __ No
9. Allows you to be influenced by their views.
__ Yes __ Somewhat __ No
10. Gives people timely and candid information about the change.
__ Yes __ Somewhat __ No

Allows You to Stay Relaxed

You must choose a strategy that allows you to feel relatively grounded, while you engage in dialogue with others. If you feel off-balance, you could lash out and ruin any chance for collaboration.

11. You believe the change management plan is sound and will work. Too often, leaders allow themselves to be talked into a plan that is someone else’s brainchild. You must believe it is worthy, or you will be anxious every step of the way.
__ Yes __ Somewhat __ No
12. The plan allows you to get hot issues out in the open and still stay within your own comfort zone.
__ Yes __ Somewhat __ No

Allows You to Join with Other Stakeholders

Your change management plan addresses the following questions:

13. What’s in it for me (or the group I represent)? The plan provides a way for you to clearly state why you think this is an important issue and any recommendations you have developed.
__ Yes __ Somewhat __ No
14. What’s in it for them? The plan offers a way for all the interested parties to communicate what’s in it (and not in it) for them.
__ Yes __ Somewhat __ No
Questions 13 and 14 provide information, 15 requires some action in order to find these common concerns.
15. What’s in it for us? The strategy includes ways to try to pull together disparate interests in a mutually beneficial solution that meets most of the needs of most of the stakeholders.
__ Yes __ Somewhat __ No

Scoring

14-15 Yes Answers
Your change management plan is probably quite sound.
11-13 Somewhat
You are at some risk. You may be overlooking some key aspects of ways to build support for change.
0-10 No
This change is at great risk of failing.

© 2009 Rick Maurer – Rick uses his Change without Migraines™ to advise organizations on how to lead change effectively. He is author of many books including Beyond the Wall of Resistance. Recently, he created the Change Management Open Source Project, a free resource for people interested in change in organizations. www.beyondresistance.com

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