How to assess impacts of a change accurately

It doesn't matter what type of change you are working on, the key to putting together the right change plan is to understand the change impacts.  Now if you are a change practitioner how well you approach this, the better your change plan will be. But how do you make sure that what you have captured is accurate?

Well, here are the four tips for you to consider:

1) Be sure to assess ALL of the aspects of the change. Approach this analysis like a pro by asking about all aspects which are changing. Even if it is to confirm what ISN'T changing. For example at Myvirtualchangemanager we ask about 6 areas: Process, Policy, Technology, People, Products/Services, Physical Environment. The more aspects that are changing, the greater the impact.

2) Ask five ways. Have you heard about the 5 Why model when it comes to analysing a problem. Well I embody an insatiable curiosity when it comes to analysing a change. Never take what someone says at face value but be curious. I often ask follow up questions such as - can you describe the process or experience when someone does this process currently? How do they know what to do? How do new starters know how to do this? Can you step me through it? What do you say at this point? etc etc. Depending on how well someone describes their experience will guide my curiosity.

3) Observe the experience or process. I have noted this often and will continue to repeat this tip - desk top is not enough to assess impacts. You need to observe what people are doing. Sometimes the way someone describes what they do is different to how they actually do it. Or if you have only spoken to one person, they may paint a better picture about the current state or capability than is the reality. 

4) Understand the cultural undertone. This is also important. Being able to understand the cultural drivers will also support the approach. If the culture doesn't lend itself to supporting the change, then some harder conversations need to be had. You can also identify opportunities in which you can align to the strengths of the culture in your approach.

And how you approach the research process will also determine how well you assess the impacts. What I mean by this is the following:

Do you have any pre-conceived ideas about the business areas or change that you may want to 'check in at the door'?

Are you listening enough to those who you are asking questions of in the impact workshop? I have witnessed a number of times where the change analyst or change manager spoke for 70% of the workshop and took up all the air in the room. BIG mistake. It should be 70/30 in favour of the participant and those who can share their experience, not in favour of the change practitioner. 

Have you created enough of a safe space to allow for frank and honest discussion? This all about how to create psychological safety and that can make a world of difference in your workshops so you can capture more accurate details and sentiments.

 If you are interested in learning more about how to assess the impacts of a change. Have a listen to this podcast Episode on Next Level Change Success

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