Change Design

by David King


According to the UK government’s Office of Government Commerce (OGC), the need for effective management of change has never been more evident.

Change is a way of life for all organisations. Where there is major change there will be complexity and risk. There could be many inter-dependencies and conflicting priorities to resolve.

Managing successful programmes, OGC, 2007

There may indeed be powerful and convincing drivers for the need to make significant change, but the true rationale and underlying business goals may not always be clearly articulated. This can result in confusion about the reason why changes are required and what specifically needs to be done.

Change needs to be designed, and the crucial first step in any designed change is to establish a clear vision as the basis for the change that is required.

Vision before change

The value of developing a coherent and purposeful Vision Statement for an organisation cannot, therefore, be underestimated. Moreover, such a statement has to have real meaning for everyone involved in the change: it must effectively communicate a vision of the future that will be desirable, compelling, motivating and inspiring.

A good vision statement doesn’t emerge by chance, nor is it the product of some ‘dark art’ conducted in a boardroom somewhere ‘up there’ in the organisation, possibly with the help of external consultants. If that happens, few people understand quite where the vision came from or what its true purpose is. The results frequently become little more than ‘corporate wallpaper’, adorning as they do the corridors and offices of most organisation buildings, exhorting us all to live up to the values, beliefs and vision expressed.

It is also not the same thing as a mission statement, which is usually set at too high a level and is often too vague to be useful when addressing specific change requirements.

The principles and techniques for creating a worthwhile and achievable Vision Statement are readily accessible and lead to a vision that has meaning and relevance to everyone in an organisation, especially when going through major change. What’s needed is a vision that will inspire, motivate and achieve buy-in from everyone who contributes to the success of an organisation.


The good...

Our vision is to be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.

The bad...

We ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the [product] and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the [product]. Today, we continue to lead the industry in innovation with our award-winning computers, [product] operating system and applications. We are also spearheading the digital media revolution with its portable music and video players and online store, and have entered the mobile phone market with our revolutionary [product].

This topic aims to help you approach the challenge of creating a vision for your organisation by introducing you to simple approaches, tools and techniques so that you can ensure your change programme gets off to the best possible start.