You have an idea to make a change in your community or organization. Change initiatives require planning and managing a lot of work along the way. Here are three tips to consider prior to starting a change initiative.
1. What is your destination?
Is it known, unknown or semi-transparent? Or even something else? It is okay to proceed without a very clear destination but your destination defines your process. A process can be designed for anything. In your case, your destination must guide your process so you need to know the destination prior to choosing a process.
2. Start small by winning.
Unless you are the person leading the change process the initiative probably feels likes the same old same old, is confusing or is a reason to be fearful. You want to obtain the support from a core group of influential people quickly and you want to have evidence that what you are doing is working. Start with something small and share it as evidence of success for the work you are doing.
Evidence might include a process design with a beautiful process map, a list of participants (truly committed ones) or minutes from a meeting. As things move along the evidence needs to remain a constant. Keep the group to size that can eat two pizzas. Also, if you don’t see evidence of progress within two weeks, kill the initiative, at least for now. You need to analyze what is going on if it’s going nowhere within a two week time frame.
3. Determine your persistence sooner rather than later.
Change takes time. Although some obstacles can be anticipated, you have be persistent to overcome obstacles and keep going. You might find it rare that other people have your same level of persistence, keep going. At the same time, you have to remain flexible to learning new knowledge along the way and adjusting accordingly. Centering yourself in why you are involved in or leading change will help you remain persistent.
I recommend creating a personal process map. In the map include things that people might say or do along the way that will prove to you something is happening. Also, deliberate on what you are doing to learn along the way and develop learning goals for yourself. Write everything down and choose when you will review it. I recommend weekly for a personal process map and quarterly for the initiative process map.