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21 Mar 2011

Change Management – Tactic #3: Break Into Small, Simple Steps

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series Change Management Tips

Change Management & Effecting ChangeThe Hot Spotters, by Atul Gawande in the January 24, 2011 issue of The New Yorker spoke primarily to minimizing medical costs but had much relevancy to my experiences in effecting change. It covered five tactics. This is the third of a five part series.

Tactic #3 involves breaking down and delivering change in very small, simple steps. For organization-wide change, every manager has responsibility for detailing this for every one of his employees. This is difficult.  Usually, there are two problems:

  1. Failing to uncover some important details
  2. Seeing only one step where there are two or more

Unfortunately, the difference between too little and too much detail isn’t clear. Generally, it’s better to err on the latter; while keeping in mind timing and the threat of over planning, and accepting that we will always overlook some details.

When we bring the change to the individual level, it’s extremely important that we break down the change into small bites and deliver them one at a time. Emotionally, the change is too daunting if we show someone all of it at once.

Often, the worse person to detail these steps is someone who performs them well because they come naturally to her. Thus, what she sees as one step could easily be five to ten. In these cases, someone with a project or process management orientation is helpful. He can observe and work with the model to detail the steps. If the change is dramatically new and lacks a model, he can jointly work with the expert on the new process and those affected employees to detail the new steps.

Once detailed, someone with a training attribute can help organize them into a developmental plan for the manager’s use with his employees.


Related article: Are We Being Short Changed?


Series Navigation<< Change Management – Tactic #2: Strengthen RelationshipsChange Management – Tactic #4: Repetitiveness >>

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