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07 Mar 2016

Choosing the right Change

by Melanie Franklin

I have been doing a lot of work recently on how to move a need for change from a general understanding that ‘we cannot continue as we are’ to a detailed solution that has wide support and whose scope is clearly understood.

The most effective ways to move the change through this lifecycle is ‘the talking cure‘:

  • Creating lots of opportunities for mixed groups to talk
  • Mixed groups means a mix of different roles, a mix of people from different departments and a mix of different levels of seniority and responsibility
  • Talk means directed conversation, by identifying questions that are most likely to provoke the sharing of a wife perspective of views

Creating the business case for ‘Discovery’

It’s hard to create the Business Case for this ‘discovery’ phase of change because the output is greater understanding but that doesn’t translate through to anything tangible.

The only way I have found to justify this very important aspect of managing change is to highlight the cost of not doing it. What is lost is effective scenario planning and risk management.

Benefits of ‘Discovery’

Scenario Planning 

It isn’t possible to analyse the impact of change on different scenarios unless those scenarios can be identified. The talking cure is very good at expanding the conversation about change away from the centre ground, where the biggest impact will be, to identifying the exceptional situations and the minority groups of stakeholders that will be affected.

Risk management

Talking brings assumptions out into the open. If you don’t know what assumptions are being made then it isn’t possible to manage the risk that the assumption prices false.

Talking also helps to refine the scope of the change – either widening it or narrowing it as people start to appreciate what the change is likely to mean for them. A key risk is that the scope of the change doesn’t address the real needs of the organisation so talking helps to manage risk.

Do you do enough ‘discovery’ for your change initiatives. Get in touch and share your views.

Melanie Franklin
7th March 2016