When change is initiated leaders often forget about their most important asset, people. Organizations are full of people and people that are not considered until after the change is started can make change messy and challenging.
Messy change requires change triage which uses all the best practices of change management in an emergency toolkit to address critical change challenges.
Change Triage – a rapid determination of the priority of change management actions based on the severity of stakeholder impact when there is insufficient time and resources to do complete change management.
Performing Change Triage:
- Assess – what hurts? What is the change impact? What are the immediate impacts, potential impacts and what is creating the greatest amount of pain? Who is being impacted?
- Prioritize – what is the most critical injury? based upon your assessment, prioritize which stakeholders need the greatest amount of care and which actions will most efficiently and effectively assist with their change transition.
- Act – take care of the wounded. Change triage is performed when there is limited time and resources. In order to get the greatest benefit it’s critical to take action. Telling people about the change (communication) is usually not the best first action. A careful assessment and prioritization often uncovers an initial step that will steer the change in a more successful direction.
Although it’s always ideal to include change management as soon as change is considered, the reality is that there are times that doesn’t happen. Rather than filing a missing persons report, perform change triage and assess, prioritize and action on the change issues.