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     "Things don’t have to change the world to be important" (Steve Jobs)

The start of a change process always requires an environmental scan. Not to do so introduces vagaries of resourcing and an inability to set a direction. How do you know you are not already there?

To develop a plan requires a starting point and an end point. So, whilst you may have an end in mind, it’s good to know how far you have to travel and in what direction you need to go to get to your destination. Environmental scans look at the context for your change, the culture that you will need to negotiate or modify, the history of previous change initiatives, and the likely impact that this change will have on people.

As a leader you need to have a clear understanding of your change environment. So, evaluate the context and the impact that the change will have. There are some key questions that you can ask to gain greater understanding in these areas.

Context for the Change

To understand the context of the change, think of your team and ask:
  • What is the objective or goal of the change initiative?
  • What are the givens? What do I know will change?
  • What could happen (e.g. worst-case scenario) and how do we plan for it?
  • Why are we doing this? How does this align with the organisational strategy?
  • What are the options?
  • What is and isn’t working in the organisation?
  • Some of these questions can be combined into RAID (Risks, Assumptions, Issues and Dependencies)

PODS Compass

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Impact of the Change

To understand the impact of the change, ask:
  • How radical (large) is the change?
  • How fast does the change need to occur?
  • Will the change be a phased approach, a cutover or run in parallel?
  • How many people will be impacted by this change?
  • Which roles, in particular, will be affected?
  • What processes or procedures will change?
It is likely that when your team members find out about the change they will ask similar questions. By planning ahead you will be in a position to effectively answer their questions and position the change.

Your first activity in change leadership is to set a plan, know what you want to achieve; and be clear about why you are doing it. This lets you focus on the important things.

   ● Project Concept Template (99kB download)
   ● Detailed Business Case Template (194kB download) 
   ● Environmental Scan Handout (194kB download) 
   ● Introduction to Change Extract (114kB download) 

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