Change Management Made Simple
Although change management is often recognized as critical, it’s often reduced to training and communication. While these are both valuable in the context of doing change management, they miss the mark.
There are four questions you must answer before you can determine the appropriate actions required to achieve the objectives of a specific change.
- START – where are you? If you think of change as a journey, this is your starting position. It’s sometimes referred to as the “current state.” A personal change example is weight loss. The starting measure would be your current weight. In a business change it’s usually not so simple. We’ve found many leaders of change who are unclear about their starting position. This makes it difficult to create a strategy to get where they want to go.
- FINISH – where are you going? This question explains the definition of success. How far along the adoption curve do you have to be to declare victory? Not all change is created equal. There are some changes that don’t require commitment, compliance is sufficient. So if you don’t make this explicit you could be overinvesting or underinvesting in the change management you really require.
- COMMITMENT – is there clarity and commitment to the change? It’s simple to ask and critical to understand in the context of creating a change strategy.
- GAP – the change equation to figure out the GAP:
Definition of success – (where you are + clarity and commitment) = the GAP
Once you’ve answered these questions, then you can tackle the big one, “HOW do you close the GAP?” There are many actions that can be used to close the gap. Structure, process, coaching, leadership alignment, reinforcement, resistance management, training and communications are all part of the toolbox of change management practitioners. The summary of the actions you take to close the GAP creates the change strategy.
The applied art and science of change management helps leaders create powerful change more rapidly and effectively. Take the time to answer the four critical questions and you will create a change strategy that is scaled to meet the challenge of the change you want to accomplish.