How To Define Change? Insanely, We Don’t!


Define Change? I bet you are wondering what does that even mean!

Let us start with the basics!

Tell me, why is change management such a complex area?

Is it complicated, or do we make it so?

Look, there are many reasons for the complexity within change management. But, one of the main reasons is that we often ignore the basics.

We do not follow a common-sense approach—instead, we slap projects with popular methodologies like Prosci, APMG.

Let us unfold what I mean by the common sense approach.

Let me ask you…

If you are solving a problem, what would be your first step?

I guess you will define the problem and understand it from various aspects. Common sense!

But, when you are managing change, how often did you define change?

You may be thinking, what do I mean by define change.

Look, strategic business change has many facets/attributes. Some of which we can see and explain, others comes to us as a surprise. So, before delivering change, we must define a 3-D model and understand various change attributes. We can do this by defining the change.

Let us consider an example:

Consider your business decides to roll out software to optimise procurement. How can you define this change?

To define, we need to view the change from various viewpoints:

  • Who is the instigator of the change? What are their expectations?
  • Who the change can affect (directly and indirectly)?
  • What are the threats to the proposed change?
  • What are the opportunities that change may bring for the business?
  • Who is the catalyst of the change?
  • Who will be the winners and losers after we implement change? So, who will receive benefit and who can experience loss?

The change definition helps you to understand its impact at a much deeper level. Once you define the change, it becomes much simpler to manage it. It also helps you have a much broader context about the change. 

How we can define change?

There can be many ways for defining change. One of the simplest ways is to document all the attributes of the change. 

Refer to the generic example below for you:

define change

Now let us define change with the help of an example: 

Let’s assume that the State government has passed a plan to build a new bridge in the busy area within the city. You are responsible to develop a change management plan for project implementation.

Using the table above and undertaking analysis, you define the change as:

Change definition: A bridge will be built between ‘Rock’ and ‘Star’ streets. It will be 250 meters long and allow four lanes. Following are the attributes of change:

define change

Do you think it is worth spending time defining change?

Here are few more reasons you should consider defining change:

  1. Change definition helps to develop a shared understanding of change among all stakeholders
  2. It allows you to create more robust and cohesive change strategies and plans
  3. It helps to develop powerful communications for different groups (e.g. Winners, Losers)
  4. Change definition is based on facts and analysis. So, it acts as a source of truth throughout project implementation

In your next project, do justice with change management. Make sure that team takes time to define the change. It will make a massive difference in your success in managing the change. 

If you need any help, do not hesitate to contact me.

I wish you good luck with your project!