Today, I’d like to talk a little bit about preparing for change. I’ve spent some time discussing various change management models, how to deal with efficiency, logistics, as well as human aspects like the big hurdles of resistance and of course, the much dreaded change phase of the process. But, I’ve not really had a chance to talk about the equally important preparation phase that precedes actually implementing any change.
This isn’t due to an oversight, you needed to understand the many facets of change itself before you could really appreciate what goes into preparing for change, and why you need to do the various things you must. Now that you’ve had that decent level of exposure, it’s time to talk about the preparatory phase, because going into anything unprepared is a fool’s errand.
#1 – Change Needs Assessment
I’m not saying that change is in need of assessment, but that you need to assess what changes might be necessary in the organization. While you obviously already see some needs if you’re in this preparatory phase, you may only be seeing the tip of the ice berg.
There could be a whole number of things that need addressing, along with the fact that any big change will demand smaller ones to be made around it to make it jive with policies and regulations that are in place. So, ripples in the pond as it were.
#2 – Creating a Model
Now, you need to create a good change model. I won’t go into a lot of detail of the various standard models largely used, as we’ve been through these in quite a bit of detail already. But, now that you know the changes that need to be made, you need to choose a model type that works for you.
After which point, you need to do some calculations to see how long you need to properly make changes of the scale you’re planning.
#3 – Allocation
Now that you have a model, a rough timeline, and a finger on every change you actually need to do, it’s time to allocate the resources necessary. These include time out of various schedules, as well as people to assist you, and any materials needed for training.
#4 – Organizational Assessment
You can do this before creating the model, but I find it’d good to do this with a model and timeframe in mind, but also with a willingness to bend those if input from this phase demands such for smooth operation.
You need to meet with the organization in question – the actual people you are affecting. And in this meeting, you need to evaluate any concerns they have, and try to map any immediately evident resistance, and from this, formulate a resistance management plan (discussed in another recent piece).
With these steps taken, you’re ready to actually begin working on affecting change with a solid big picture and a clear understanding of the environment you must work with. Without preparing for change first, like this, then you can’t build good models or set up good time tables, and you’ll overlook important issues that may need to be addressed to accommodate the bigger change.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.