4 Steps to Effective Change Planning within Change Management

How to plan a change in 4 steps?
Effective change management planning in 4 steps

You’ve probably heard this phrase or the so-called first rule of programming: “If it works don’t touch it”. I believe there is something about this joke, at least to the point that you shouldn’t change for the sake of change. And when you decide to change something you clearly understand why and what you want to achieve. 

If you simply ask yourself these four questions you can ensure you are good to go with your change management program:

Step 1. WHAT exactly is wrong now and HOW exactly should it be in you vision? 
It is vital to see what specifically is not working and how you can see what is not working as expected. This is the starting point: not only to say that something is broken, but also to see certain details. When you understand those details, it will be easy to tell how it should be if it works correctly. It also means a lot because ignites the whole direction of change management.

Step 2. WHAT do you need to change and HOW do you need to change it? Now that you’ve given yourself direction, you need to be clear about what exactly needs to be changed. It’s not the same as in the first step where you identify what is wrong. At this stage, you choose the specific details around which you want to focus your changes. Sometimes the change is planned not in the broken system, but in the environment. So, here, you determine where and what you want to change. And you determine how you are going to change it. 

Step 3. WHAT do you need to change and HOW can you get it? It’s about the resources you may need to make changes and finding those resources. But take your time to get new resources in the first place, and instead analyze whether you really need something additional to what you already have. It is a common mistake in change management to opt for new resources without carefully considering whether the change can be successfully planned using the current resources. 

Step 4. WHAT is your timeline and WHEN do you start?Now that almost all of the details have been planned, the only thing left until the start is to define a timeline including the start date. If something is not on your calendar it doesn’t really exist. So put all your milestones on your calendar and you’re done. 

And in case you want to follow these simple steps, you can use this picture so you don’t forget something along the way:

4 steps to plan a change

p.s. The photo shows a picture of a wonderful band playing in a restaurant in Tokyo. The performance was breathtaking and I know this is only possible when you continuously re-examine where you are now, where you want to be and how you can get there, and then you constantly change for the better.