Conditions for Change Assessment
by Rick Maurer

The difference between successful changes and those that don’t work has nothing to do with the quality of the idea. It is the human side of the planning and implementation strategies that usually marks the difference between success and failure. See how well your organization fares.

Consider a current major change — such as a reorganization, reengineering, a merger, quality improvement effort, or the application of a new software system — and answer the following statements. Ideally you should be able to answer “yes” to all 15. Pay attention to those you answer “Somewhat” or “No” — these could cause you problems.

Build Strong Working Relationships

Your change management plan:
1. Identifies all parties who have a stake in the outcome. 

Yes  Somewhat  No 
 
2. Includes a way to get all these stakeholders involved in the planning and implementation. If it is unrealistic to get all individual parties involved, a significant cross-section (including a diagonal slice of the organization) is encouraged to take part in planning.

Yes  Somewhat  No

Maintain Clear Focus

You need long-range focus (goal, vision) as well as an ability to focus on the level of support or opposition you face today. Focusing near and far at the same time is difficult. Your plans should include way to keep your sights clearly on both the goal and the current situation.

Your change management plan:

3. Allows you to keep your long-range goal in mind throughout the process, even when it might be tempting to get immersed in the details of the project or overwhelmed by the resistance.

Yes  Somewhat  No 
 
4. Provides ways to monitor the extent to which support is building or waning. 

Yes  Somewhat  No 
 
5. Provides context for the change to stakeholders. What is the business reason for the change? What are the conditions that led up to this change?

Yes  Somewhat  No

Embrace Resistance

The change strategy should include ways to actively invite opposition. When people believe they have something to lose by this change, your ability to work with resistance will be a critical factor in determining whether the change will be a success or a failure. Most often, organizations attempt to overpower or ignore resistance. This is often a tragic mistake.

Your change management plan:

6. Includes ways to keep the doors of communication open throughout the planning and implementation of the change. 
Yes  Somewhat  No 
 
7. Includes multiple ways to get beneath the surface and hear what people really think about these changes.

Yes  Somewhat  No

Respect Those Who Have a Stake

Your change management plan:
8. Lets people know that you’ve heard their concerns and value their input.

Yes  Somewhat  No 
 
9. Allows you to be influenced by their views.

Yes  Somewhat  No 
 
10. Gives people timely and candid information about the change.

Yes  Somewhat  No

Allows You to Stay Relaxed

You must choose a strategy that allows you to feel relatively grounded, while you engage in dialogue with others. If you feel off-balance, you could lash out and ruin any chance for collaboration.
11. You believe the change management plan is sound and will work. Too often, leaders allow themselves to be talked into a plan that is someone else’s brainchild. You must believe it is worthy, or you will be anxious every step of the way.

Yes  Somewhat  No 
 
12. The plan allows you to get hot issues out in the open and still stay within your own comfort zone.

Yes  Somewhat  No

Allows You to Join with Other Stakeholders

Your change management plan addresses the following questions:
13. What’s in it for me (or the group I represent)? The plan provides a way for you to clearly state why you think this is an important issue and any recommendations you have developed.

Yes  Somewhat  No 
 
14. What’s in it for them? The plan offers a way for all the interested parties to communicate what’s in it — and not in it — for them. 
Yes  Somewhat  No 
 
Questions 13 and 14 provide information, 15 requires some action in order to find these common concerns. 
 
15. What’s in it for us? The strategy includes ways to try to pull together disparate interests in a mutually beneficial solution that meets most of the needs of most of the stakeholders.

Yes  Somewhat  No

Scoring

14-15 Yes Answers - Your change management plan is probably quite sound.
11-13 Somewhat - You are at some risk. You may be overlooking some key aspects of ways to build support for change.
0-10 No - This change is at great risk of failing.


Rick Maurer consults to the leaders in organizations and their teams on how to implement change while paying attention to people. He offers tools to handle change effectively. His books, Building Capacity for Change Sourcebook, Beyond the Wall of Resistance, Caught in the Middle, and The Feedback Toolkit, offer practical tools that enable people to improve management practices. Rick's articles on change and management have appeared in numerous magazines, trade publications and professional journals. Since publication of Beyond the Wall of Resistance, he has appeared on CNBC, NBC Nightly News, and been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, USA Today and IndustryWeek Magazine.

For more information, contact Maurer & Associates via: Phone: 703-525-7074;
Fax: 703-525-0183; e-mail: info@beyondresistance.com , and visit: www.beyondresistance.com/ .

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