When planning for change, it helps to identify factors that may hinder change. At the same time, it is important not to forget the factors that may support the change.
You often find factors that help or hinder change in the same places. Consider the following examples of types of factors that might affect your change initiative both positively or negatively:
The culture of the organization is composed of the unspoken rules and patterns of behavior that make up “the way we do things around here.” Culture can create both roadblocks and shortcuts to change, depending on whether it clashes with or is aligned with the change.
The organization’s design can impact the change. Is power and work centralized or decentralized? Is the emphasis on processes or functions? How does the org chart or the groups that typically work together affect the change you want to implement?
Depending on what the change is, some groups will naturally tend to support it. Others will be more resistant. Based on your change initiative, who would want it to happen and who would rather avoid it? What would be a natural reaction to the desired change?
External stakeholders can also exert positive or negative forces on change. Affected parties might include customers, the community, or stock holders. Other environmental factors such as governmental regulations, industry guidelines or union contracts might also impact your ability to change.
For each of the factors above, assess which aspects might hinder your change and which might help it. For those that hinder change, what might you do to diminish the affect it has? For those aspects that support change, how might you leverage them to build up more support or gain more energy for change?