Are we solving problems or just causing movement? At some point, we have all managed change initiatives. It might have been something small like redecorating a house, or exceptionally large like changing the organizational structure of a company, but at some point, a change initiative has been undertaken.
I have been thinking quite a bit about change this week and the importance of making sure that the change will solve a problem and not just cause movement. It can sometimes be hard to know if the change is solving a problem. There are a couple of simple steps that can help ensure success when implementing change.
Change is constant and inevitable in both personal and business life. We need to be constantly improving and growing to meet the demands of life. By following a simple change pattern, we can make sure that our changes are positive and not just movement.
Determine the Need:
Start with a careful analysis of the problem that you are trying to solve. For example, we meet as a team and determine that our biggest problem in the office is that we are constantly running out of copy paper for the copy machine. All problems are not of equal importance. If we can slow down and identify the right problems to solve, often other problems are solved at the same time.
Once the problem has been identified, build a measuring stick to help determine if progress is being made towards solving the problem. In this case, the measuring stick would be that our office does not run out of copy machine paper, but we do not want to have too much paper on hand.
Create the Process or Plan:
Working with the people closest to the problem, develop a plan for solving the issue.
Communicate the Plan:
Make sure that everyone affected understands the problem being solved, the process that will be used to solve the problem, and most importantly, how it benefits/affects them.
Work the Plan:
Now that everyone affected is aware of the plan, execute it! If the plan was designed properly and everyone does their assigned task, your problem should be solved. However, sometimes it is hard to track progress, that is where feedback loops come into play.
Create a Feedback Loop:
Feedback loops are simply a process of measuring work accomplished with the desired outcome. In the simple example of copy paper, we are keeping track of whether we ran out of paper and verifying that we do not have too much on hand.
The feedback loop is the most crucial step in this process because, without it, we end up charging blindly ahead, often causing movement when we need to solve problems.
We often feel good about ourselves if it feels like we are “busy”, but being “busy” will not always be solving problems. That is why it is important to take a step back and identify the root problem before acting. Then, using what we found, we can create a plan and track our progress with feedback loops.
This will save hours of wasted time and will create a culture of efficiency in the office.
If you have any questions about this concept or have experience with these practices let us know!
With an undergraduate degree in Applied Management, a graduate degree in Business Administration and as a doctoral candidate in Organizational Psychology, let’s just say that business and leadership are Wil’s passions! He is also a small business owner who understands the rigors and joys of business building.