When change is introduced into an organization, by definition, it will have an impact. Hopefully, that impact will be the one that’s intended. However, if you don’t predict and direct that impact before the change is introduced, it will create unnecessary disruption and cause unintended consequences. The organization may reject it and go back to the original state.
At the beginning of a project, conduct a change impact assessment to predict the impact the change would have if you don’t use change management, so you can identify the points where you can leverage change management for maximum benefit.
In order to get a complete picture of the impact a change will have, let’s look at it from multiple perspectives.
Most likely, there is a financial reason for implementing your project, whether you expect cost savings, cost avoidance, or increased revenue. And completing the project will certainly cost money. Quantify the financial impact as clearly as possible.
- How much will the change initiative cost to implement?
- What are the expected financial benefits or return on investment for the project?
- Who will pay for it?
- What is the potential cost of a botched implementation?
The change may also impact the way the business operates, either in the short term during implementation, or after the change is complete.
- How will customers be impacted by the change?
- What will happen to service levels during the transition?
- How does the change affect short- and long-term strategy?
The change will affect some groups within the organization more than others. It may also change the organization itself.
- What are all the groups that are affected or involved?
- How many people are impacted?
- How is the organization changing — either the formal structure or informal network?
The change will also affect how work gets done. The process perspective includes the step-by-step flow of work, as well as the systems that support it.
- What is changing about how work gets done?
- What are the underlying systems that enable the work?
- What is the magnitude of the change — is it more of a transition or a transformation?
The change will also have an impact on individuals within the organization. Minimizing a negative response to change is at the heart of change management.
- How will day-to-day activities and behaviors change?
- How will people feel about the change?
- How might people react, and how will that reaction affect the ability of the organization to sustain the change?
- What is the history behind the change?
Your organization is a complex set of interconnected systems. Any change will impact multiple areas. Predicting those impacts from these five perspectives will enable you to design ways to minimize the risk of disruption and ensure the desired impacts actually happen.
What perspectives or questions would you add to this list?
This article is part of the #ChangeBlogChallenge on the topic of Change Impact. Click here to see what other change thinkers say about this topic. Are you participating in the #ChangeBlogChallenge? Feel free to leave the link to your blog article in the comments.
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