Planning for Change

chrysalis-1Bringing about a change, on a team or organizational level, requires careful planning, patience and a great deal of persistence … even when the change makes perfect sense from a rational perspective. There are lots of good, workable change management models and tools available and we, at Summit, have used several. We’ve recently begun to work with a great model that is backed up by a very realistic and engaging computer simulation. The ExperienceChange© model describes 7 main steps for planning and implementing a change initiative that will stick. The model is influenced by the works of Kurt Lewin, John Kotter and David Nadler. A main focus is on creating that often-elusive commitment from the people involved.

Here are the steps we’ll take you through in the next few postings:

  1. Understand
  2. Enlist
  3. Envisage
  4. Motivate
  5. Communicate
  6. Act
  7. Consolidate

The first 3 steps deal with planning the initiative. Let’s start with Step 1, Understand.

  1. Understanding the need for change … the market, the business environment, one’s own organization and the problem itself … is a critical early step. This includes gathering and sharing information, usually at a senior level in the organization, by engaging with employees, customers and competitors It is especially important to get these parts right: a. Who will be affected? and, b. What is the issue or problem we want to address? (The root causes, not the symptoms.)
  2. Enlist your core change team. This involves finding your ‘champion’ as well as 5 or 6 others who have their fingers on the pulses of your organization, your customers and your sector (at the very least). Bring together a diverse group of people who have power, informal influence (leadership!), expertise, high credibility and good management skills. These people will need to work together to develop a compelling vision of the future, and show unwavering commitment to making it happen.
  3. Envisage. Your core team must now describe your destination and the path in simple terms. What is the desired future for your organization and how will you get there? How will you describe it in a way that resonates with all the stakeholders?

These first three steps are no small deal. They set a strategic direction for the change and get buy in from important people at the top. But the real work begins as you try to get buy in from the rest of your stakeholders and begin the ‘heavy’ lifting. We’ll look at that in the next blog.

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