Change Design

by David King

First things first

As with many things, how you begin is crucial. The logical place to start is by figuring out where you want to be when the change is done.

It would be a grand waste of time making changes only to find out you had arrived at the wrong place.

You may be starting with some kind of high-level future state or vision in mind, perhaps for the whole organisation, or perhaps for your local team or department. Or there may simply be a level of dissatisfaction with the status quo; you know some kind of change is required to make things better, but so far you haven’t really worked out what that change needs to be.

Focus first on the need for change

  1. Hold workshops, brainstorms and information sharing events to explain why change is needed and get input from a wide variety of stakeholders.
  2. Consider why, specifically, the current situation is not acceptable – share both the good and bad, what needs to change and why, balanced against what will be retained.
Key point

You need to uncover all the different drivers for change. If you later find that you have missed one, and it turns out to be critical, then your change programme is unlikely to ‘fix’ it.

  1. Establish both what needs to change and how far-reaching the change should be: is it ‘strategic’, ‘tactical’ or ‘reactive’?

Strategic change...

is likely to be far reaching and affect many functions and ‘core’ business activities. Consider a fundamental change programme that maps all critical interfaces, boundaries and dependencies across the entire business.

Tactical change...

is a response to an event that must be addressed at an operational level – for example, to improve product quality or service delivery or meet a new requirement. You will still need to fully understand all the critical business and operational interfaces that may be affected by the change, however small it may first seem. A more strategic response may still be needed.

Reactive change...

is a change linked to a specific event or failure that has to be addressed or corrected quickly. A tactical response may be needed or even a strategic response, depending on the scale and reach of the event or failure. An interim solution may be needed while the full implications can be worked out.

Explore relevant and interesting viewpoints and perspectives of change to help you focus on where and how change will be beneficial.

Design a change programme to determine how a change can be achieved that responds to the key business drivers.