Some people have to experience a change before they realize that it won't be that difficult. Implementing part of your change agenda early can provide a powerful boost to your change initiative. In this video, Bob McGannon takes you through a number of factors for selecting a change to implement early in your change initiative. These include timing, the ability to test the change thoroughly, assessing the magnitude and impact of the change, and arranging publicity.
- Sometimes, you just have to jump in and do something to prove you're capable. When I moved from the U.S. to Australia, I was intimidated about driving a manual transmission car because I had to shift with my left, rather than right hand. It took getting in the car and doing it to realize it wasn't that difficult. The same circumstance can also happen during a change program. People have to experience a change before they realize it won't be too difficult.
So implementing part of your change agenda earlier, rather than later, can provide a powerful boost to your change initiative. However, it's not as simple as scheduling a part of your change implementation early on. I recommend you evaluate a number of factors before engaging in an early initial change. The first thing I evaluate during my own change programs is timing. You have to be sure your change team and the organization are ready to support what you install.
Before considering an initial change implementation, make sure you have your champions in place, your senior management team is fully aware and supportive, and the area where the change will be implemented is ready to proceed. Next, make sure you can test the change thoroughly. While implementing an early change can give your initiative a great boost, implementing something that breaks the business can have the opposite effect. So ensure you have the right people and the right test program in place, then diligently execute it before putting your early change in place.
You also need to be sure you can evaluate the magnitude and impact of the change you select. This is a bit of tightrope walk to work through. The item you select should be significant enough to make a difference to your business, but not so big that you're putting the business at substantial risk by trying to get something implemented quickly. The rule of thumb I use for this assessment factor is if it takes more than three people working full-time to get the deliverable prepared and installed, then it might be too substantial.
Next, look for ways to publicize the positive impacts of your change initiative within the organization. Use your corporate newsletter, or an all-hands email from a senior leader to share the success of your early delivery far and wide. Send our communications prior to your implementation to demonstrate excitement, and then follow up to highlight your success. Using positive quotes from senior management can also be a plus for your change program. Last, be sure to plan for the ground swell.
The intent of producing an early deliverable is that it puts a win on the board for your initiative. This is mostly good news, but there can be consequences. An early success can generate so much enthusiasm among your management team, that they may vie for the position to be next so they too can reap the benefits. Another consequence is that you may have given the impression that all the upcoming changes will be as straightforward as your specially selected early implementation, which is rarely the case.
To avoid these problems, work with your senior management on your priorities before implementing the initial change. Laying down a plan, getting buy-in, and then sticking to that plan is the best way to reduce the perception risks that an early success can introduce. So there you have it. My recommendations for the best way to prove to yourself and to others that your change program is vital. Oh, and one more thing. Enthusiastically celebrate this early win with your team, while emphasizing you have more to come.
It's a good way to boost the morale of your team on a long change journey.
- Understanding the levels of change management
- Working through the five phases of change management
- Creating a change plan
- Communicating change
- Implementing change
- Managing risk
- Reinforcing change
- Evaluating the change
- Guiding individuals through change