A Little Curiosity

A “What if Moment”

Countless conversations in executive offices and around conference tables in small and large businesses seek to better understand and quickly resolve problems, ultimately to improve performance. Maybe it is sparked with a concerning trend, a customer or employee complaint, or just a little curiosity. I call it a “What If Moment.”

However the process of change starts, it is central to improving employee engagement, targeted business outcomes, and numerous financial metrics.

In a business setting, discovery is the process of gathering relevant facts to increase awareness of existing structural, behavioral and/or market challenges that are or would impede the attainment of a given business goal or objective. Essentially, by increasing awareness a path forward is discovered.

Sometimes business challenges are quickly understood and placed in the rear view mirror. Sometimes the challenges are more complex, or the requisite talents, experiences, and other resources necessary to solve the problem are not available given the volume of routine business activities. Today, many businesses run lean.

In the more complex scenario, many business owners outsource change management projects to more fully understand the specific challenge and either resolve it or receive a road map for the company to marshal efforts to accomplish a given goal or objective.

Understanding “where you are today” (Present State) is especially foundational for external consultants to solve problems and move a client’s performance to “where you want to go,” a desired Future State. This understanding or discovery can happen really fast, but don’t cut it short. In almost every endeavor, how you prepare signals the quality of the outcome you seek.

You might decide to remodel your home, but carpenters, painters, and all contractors take measurements and prepare surfaces to be revitalized. It is the same with a wide variety of change management projects – be sure to fully understand first – before you make change happen.

Elevated performance will follow.

 

THE PROCESS CORNER – Change is a Journey, Not a Destination

There are many famous quotations dealing with change. Change is inevitable, like death and taxes. Change is challenging for most of us to embrace. Most of us prefer our lives to have certainty and predictability, with a comfortable routineness. Often unknown to us, we are creatures of habit.  

Change is frequently linked to acceptance, but few of these quotations link it to a process that makes its outcome more efficient and desirable. In our personal lives – and as importantly in our professional lives – we need to acknowledge that change is necessary.

For the betterment of our personal and professional lives – we must acknowledge that change is necessary. We know change is hard, but paradoxically we seek easy processes to make our lives better.

The premise of this post is that individual and organizational change is a journey that is never-ending. It isn’t a destination that you arrive at and it is done. Rather, change occurs constantly, and individuals and organizations can: (1) ignore the external forces that impact them, or they can (2) embrace those external forces, and seek alternative solutions to achieve organizational success.  

We recommend an initial AWARENESS PHASE that identifies Problems (we call them Gaps), the Drivers of your Business (Financial, ROI, Cultural, Customers, etc.), Resources (dollars, time, talent – internal and external), and your Priorities based upon company goals and objectives.

Then you move into an ACTION PHASE where you expand Awareness, to Assess, Analyze, and Plan for specific initiatives. As plans are finalized and vetted, select a champion to lead each initiative. A project or initiative champion is key to overall accountability and success – to implement specific metrics and explicit schedules, and mark milestone progress along your Roadmap.

Although somewhat a misnomer, the “final” step is the ACHIEVEMENT PHASE. Certainly, there must be achievement, but it is an incremental signpost on the journey to the organization’s long-term goals and objectives.

Celebrate signpost achievements, but continue the process to adjust to each new change. Create new Awareness, new Action plans, and set new Achievement goals and objectives. Change management is a process. Scale it to your market and organization. Keep it simple. Get outside help if the expertise and resources are missing inside your organization.