Often there is a compelling case for change, whether it is driven by the results of an employee satisfaction survey, difficulties attracting and recruiting individuals or simply the requirement to grow or diversify the business.
It’s so easy to make assessments and decide what is needed in order to address the required change. But in the cold light of day during the design and implementation stage, there is a sudden realisation that the solution(s) will not actually address the issue.
It is useful to establish a widely shared understanding based on intellectual insight, to determine whether change is desirable, if at all, and to what extent it is required. Any work undertaken should be based on a full diagnosis/discovery against an ‘ideal’ future state. The ‘ideal’ should be fully considered, clear and aligned to the business strategy. At the same time there should be an awareness that it may have to flex slightly, as the picture becomes clearer as it moves through the discovery process.
Typically, the ideal future positioning is developed with the support of the senior leadership team and would include any high-level stakeholders. Full financial analysis is important to this process to get the full attention and commitment from the leadership team. The following is not an exhaustive list, but gives some examples of financial analyses that could be useful to build a case for change:
- Increase productivity by X
- Increase customer/brand advocacy by X
- Increase employee satisfaction by X
- Manage the pay bill by X
- Manage spend on recruitment by X
The next stage is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current position in terms of policies, practices and alignment to performance, to understand how it can support the new ideal. This part of the discovery is very much about gaining the views of employees and reviewing data and documentation. Quite often the level of change is not as great as immediately envisaged or it needs to look different.
By carrying out a thorough discovery process, the solutions becomes clearer. The design stage thereafter ensures that all ideals are broken down into component parts, to provide the required level of analysis to support any decision to proceed and implement. How to approach the design and implementation can be tricky, but I quite like the following framework, based on Eddie Obeng’s book All Change! The Project Leader’s Secret Handbook.
Obeng sets out four different project methodologies:
- Walking in the fog - don’t know what is required nor how to achieve it
- Making a movie - very certain about how the project should proceed, but not what needs to be done
- Going on a quest - very sure of what should be done, but unsure how it will be achieved
- Painting by numbers – sure of what to do and how it is to be done
Recognising the type of project and understanding the risks involved will allow you to adapt your leadership style, mitigating the risks and ensuring success. By spending time on the discovery initially, it gives a head start by changing the project type from ‘walking in the fog’ or ‘making a movie,’ to ‘going on a quest,’ or even ‘painting by numbers.’
At Innecto, we walk the client through the discovery process. It makes life easier for the project leader, builds their credibility within the business, ensures the solutions are right for the business, and guarantees the successful landing of these solutions. Discovery is essential. If you would like help with this process in your business, get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org