Our family meal plans most weeks. This makes grocery shopping, coordinating cooking, and what we are eating super easy for us. We have some regular meals that cycle through the list and Fridays have become "fend for yourself" nights. This means we all eat what we want, when we want, where we want (and is a favorite for all of us). My Friday night dinners are often a cheese board with a few cheese bits, some crackers, as well as a little dried fruits (and yes, a glass of wine to go with it). Swiss cheese is always a welcome addition to this too!
What can I say, I love cheese!
But cheese doesn't belong everywhere, especially when it comes to change management. As organizations move from their current state to their desired future state, change management enables successful outcomes. Looking at the image below the lack of change management leads to a rocky transition state and a "Swiss cheese" future state.
You may be thinking that you have gotten along so far without change management, why start now?
As you think of past change initiatives or projects that you have been a part of, have you ever had:
A lower return on investment (ROI) than you were hoping for?
Changes that were attempted, but ultimately failed?
Improvement goals that were never achieved? or
Just didn't get what you were hoping for?
All of these are potential consequences of the lack of change management and demonstrative of a "Swiss Cheese Future State".
Change management is the application of a structured process and set of tools for leading the people side of change to achieve a desired outcome.
Good news: you do not have to be perfect to realize the benefits of change management. Here are 3 actions that you can implement that will help you avoid a "Swiss cheese future state":
Develop a communications plan. This doesn't need to be overly complicated either. Check out this post to learn how a communications plan can help your next initiative.
Define success for your project. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is amazing how many times I work with clients and their success definition is unclear. Be sure your definition includes: what the project is, why you are changing, what are you changing, and who will be changing.
Identify the project sponsor. Sponsorship directly correlates with project success! Your should should be: Actively and visibility participating throughout the project, Building a coalition of sponsorship with peers and managers, and Communicating directly with employees.