Managing Change and Uncertainty – being prepared

The second in a series of six articles written by Karen Jones and Joanne Spencer features a questionnaire to help you to properly prepare for change and uncertainty in your organisation.
One of the key elements to successful change is preparation.People need to know what is going to happen to them and when. It is therefore vital that you invest time at the outset to work this through so everyone is clear ‘for what purpose’ the change is happening. All change involves an element of loss as well as gain, so you need to think through carefully what this means in terms of the change and how the change will be implemented.
We have developed a ‘Preparing for Change’ questionnaire, which we hope you find useful. This questionnaire:
·         Acts like a signpost
·         Helps teams to think through and understand the challenges of the change they are embarking on
·         Enables greater planning and preparation and therefore a smoother transition
·         Encourages creative thought and challenge.
It should be completed at the very start of the project initiation phase, if the changes form part of a larger project. The outputs from the document can then be discussed with those leading the change as well as being a helpful aid to engaging your teams.
For what purpose is the change happening
·         What is the outcome of this change, why is this change important and how does it fit with the vision, aims, objectives?
·         Who is sponsoring the change and why?
·         Who will be directly impacted by the change?
·         What other changes and projects are happening across the organisation. Are they linked/ impacted by this change?
What will actually change
Detail in the columns above what currently happens and what will happen in the future – include process, behaviours, ways of working etc. Also include any specifics which won’t change.
Implementing the change
List what will be required to ‘enable’ the change to happen. This might include training required, documentation to be updated etc. Consider if these changes are limited to the internal organisation or whether partners will also need to change.
Benefits from the change
Financial benefits –
how will the change save money or provide an opportunity for greater income?
Efficiency gains – how will the change help the organisation to work more efficiently?
Non-financial benefits
how will the change improve morale, quality, meeting legal requirements etc.?
Time Scale
·         How long do you expect this change to take?
·         When will it take place?
·         What are the timescale milestones?
·         Is slippage an option or is there a critical date to be achieved?
Other points to consider
·         Are there any ‘guiding principles’ which will be used through the change e.g. must maintain or improve    customer service?
·         Any constraints on how the change is delivered e.g. budget, skill set?
·         The risks you think may occur during the change?
·         What else is currently going on for people involved in the change?
·         What are the consequences of not changing?
·         What “business as usual” activities could be impacted during and after the change is implemented?
Resources required
Include as much information on who you believe will need to work on this change, specialist skills and when they will be required. People could be from within the team or experts in areas such as HR, communications, IT etc.
Communication required
Include in here specific communication which will be required, and thoughts on how this should be delivered. Consider how you use all the communication channels which are available to you, and who has access to these channels.
List key stakeholders who will be impacted or not by the change. Think about them in terms of those who might be interested in the change or have an influence over the change.
It is helpful to think about the resistance which may be presented by them or the concerns of the different stakeholder groups so you can proactively tailor your communication with them.
Specific cost
Detail here any specific costs and budget codes which have been approved.
In the next article, we will cover engaging your teams in more detail.
Karen Jones and Joanne Spencer
Directors of Infinite You Limited
Infinite You Limited specialises in supporting organisations with change management, strategic leadership and people development. Our ethos is clear: We enable organisations to maximise the potential of their people and to make sustainable improvements to individual, team and organisational performance. Since 2007 we have developed a proven track record in embedding cultural change, organisational transformation and people development improvement across all sectors, working with organisations and individuals as they navigate the challenge of transformational change. Additionally, we will also be running two Branch based Change Management Master Classes in February 2016, to take delegates through more detail, so will share more about that with you in the coming months.
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