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Change: how to minimise the pain

Change is hard enough without making it tougher than it needs to be.

Over the next few blogs we’ll talk about the common things that we have seen organisations do to make it tougher than it needs to be.

There have been many studies, books and blogs written about change, yet somehow, we seem to make the same mistakes over and over again. We are sure that at some point, we’ll work out why this happens and solve it at the fundamental level - but until then, we wanted to share with you our insights to help you try to avoid this common mistakes.

In this blog, we’ll talk about mistake #1: moving the goal posts during the change.

Ever tried to climb up a sand dune? It’s tough right? You’re working hard to overcome gravity and move up a steep slope, but every time you put a foot down and push off, the sand moves under you and you slide backwards slightly, using up more energy as you try to keep upright and keep moving.

As scope, goals, or deliverables move around during a change program, its the same thing. More energy is spent adjusting course, modifying approaches to deliver the new target or reworking things to cover off a new issue added to the scope. The team get’s frustrated, people start to wonder if the “top” know what’s going on and the whole effort starts to feel like climbing a sand dune - harder than it should be!

Now, we appreciate that sometimes during change things have to change - the environment moves, customer expectations evolve, or our competitors are about to leap-frog us! These issues are understandable, and it well communicated, the team rapidly re-engage and push-on.

When this happens because the leadership decide to add in something last minute, or we re-think the scope half-way through, or we got our numbers wrong to begin with…… that’s self-inflicted and hard to explain.

Key learnings from our experience:

  • get the numbers right up front, set the target / goal and stay the course

  • if scope needs change, change it early, don’t let the program get close to go-live and drop a last minute change of target

Change is tough enough, don’t make it harder than it needs to be.

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