We can use the agile planning technique of “road mapping” to provide the certainty and predictability during change that our brains crave. Our brains love to know what is going to happen next, and we find we are stressed and more likely to give up if we don’t know where we are on the journey. If we can see the progress we are making towards our ultimate goal, we can pace ourselves and we can congratulate ourselves on what we have achieved.
Essentially we feel a “loyalty” to continuing the journey. Our brains respond positively to patterns, enjoying the certainty they create and a desire to get to the end and complete all the steps, which creates a pull through even the most difficult situations.
Scheduling provides clarity about what is going to happen next. This eliminates fear because we have the information to predict the next steps. Knowing what we have to get done and when helps us to create routines that we apply, even when we doubt our ability to get the work done. We can use a schedule or plan to track our progress, giving us evidence that we are succeeding, which reinforces our feeling of resilience.
To achieve this type of resilience in my change initiatives, I use a high-level, visual planning approach called the Roadmap. This sets out the journey from start to finish so that all those impacted by the change can see the scale of the work, how one achievement will lead to the next and how each of these achievements leads to complete change.
This roadmap encourages us to plan the end-to-end journey for the change we have to adopt whilst breaking it into short iterations. After the completion of every iteration, we can review what has been achieved and confirm or amend what the next achievements needs to be.
This gives us clarity about what we must do and a timetable for doing it. We can identify where we are in the journey and re-focus if we start to feel uncertain, which helps us keep going despite problems that arise.
The Roadmap technique offers a way to break down the work into smaller and more specific tasks, so we can take something that feels overwhelming and develop it into a series of actions, each small and specific, which gives us clarity about what we need to do.
In addition to breaking the change into iterations, the Roadmap has three repeatable processes, each broken into two steps that form the journey in every iteration.
This very clear and simple pattern provides certainty of what has to be done and in what order, which provides the basis for routine and repletion.