Change

by Ian Saunders, Antony Aitken, Ray Charlton and David Flatman

Common questions

  1. Where do I start?
  2. Why should we bother: this is just another change and we haven’t finished the last one yet?
  3. How do I make sense of my part in this change?
  4. It’s all going wrong – what do I do?
  5. I understand and am committed to this change. Why aren’t other people responding positively?

1. Where do I start?

Identify a clear sense of purpose, linked to the business case for the change: it is vitally important to be clear about the purpose and business case for the change before you get going. If you are not clear about the purpose, it is impossible to communicate this to others involved and you run the risk of drifting rather than engaging people.

You also need to consider what is going to be important for the people involved with the change, as the business case may be of little interest to them. They want to know how the change will affect them, not how it will affect the organisation.

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2. Why should we bother: this is just another change and we haven’t finished the last one yet?

Are you suffering from initiativitis/change overload? There are usually so many change initiatives going on in organisations at the same time that ‘just adding’ another leaves you exposed to the charge of increasing change overload, which often results in people not engaging in the change in a meaningful way. This almost always leads to disappointing outcomes.

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3. How do I make sense of my part in this change?

Go back to the beginning. Do you understand the purpose and your role in delivering the change? If you do not understand your role, you cannot communicate a sense of energy and direction. So, if you do not understand your role, make every effort to clarify what you are doing and why.

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4. It’s all going wrong — what do I do?

Firstly, recognise that things will go wrong. This is normal.

Secondly, recognise that there is no single answer and use the pages from the link below as a ready reference when things are going wrong.

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5. I understand and am committed to this change. Why aren’t other people responding positively?

Many managers and change leaders forget that people involved in change often don’t know as much about the change, and why it is happening, as the senior people do. The uninformed ones appear resistant or uninterested because they lack information. Help them to understand things by communicating widely and regularly.

How will it affect them?... Ensure that people understand the change from their point of view.

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