How much is your sequence of change costing you?

Is your system for change costing you? When change is necessary, does it feel more painful implementing change then it does just leaving things the way they are? Letting problems stay the same longer than necessary could be costing your organization immensely. And making changes in the wrong order could be as well.

Where is the best place to start then? There is no blueprint for a specific change system that can be implemented successfully in every organization. There is a blueprint however for successfully designing an effective change system for each organization.

When it comes to making changes that will enable your organization to more effectively achieve its purpose, the main goal is to design a change system that will cost your organization the least: the least pain, anguish, money, time, and resources. Start by considering what Burton calls the 12 design elements of organizations:

  1. Leadership

  2. Strategy

  3. Global

  4. Coordination/control

  5. Task

  6. Functional

  7. Configuration

  8. People

  9. Incentives

  10. Outsourcer

  11. Environment

  12. Information/Knowledge

Step 1 is to figure out how difficult it would be to change the elements that are involved in causing problems with effectiveness and efficiency (it could be all of them to some degree). Step 2 is to rank the difficulty level of changing each of the 12 design elements.

After identifying and ranking how difficult (or not) each of the 12 elements will be to change in your organization, the next step is to figure out the sequence of change by calculating the costs involved. Changing all the elements at the same time would be entirely too chaotic and costly. Not to mention, simply changing one element can potentially create alignment issues for another element. So, step 3 is to determine your potential “paths of change” by calculating the cost of changing each element. Make sure to factor in both the cost of fixing the issue with each element and how much it costs to do nothing and let the issue remain.

After calculating the cost for each element, step 4 is to determine if there is an element that is easier to deal with sooner rather than later. The ideal change system is one that costs your organization the least in the long run.

Simply because changes have been identified that will allow your organization to more effectively achieve its purpose, the day-to-day needs within your organization will remain constant. When implementing changes, everything can’t come to a halt. So, step 5 must be figuring out which elements can more easily be dealt with while the organization continues with its daily operations. Once the sequence has been determined, you can move on to the final step: create a short-term sequence and a longer-term sequence.

Change can be messy, but it shouldn’t aggravate people more than the existing problems do. Creating tailored change systems will empower your organization to more effectively achieve its purpose without additional unnecessary pain.