Change Implementation Techniques for Laying a Foundation for New Ways

Technique 1.50 Useful questionnaires/ Checklists for Handling Transitions

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(ending, neutral and beginning zones)

Introduction

. As change or transition involves "ending, neutral zone and beginning" phases of the internal psychological process that people go through to come to terms with a new situation, there is a need to identify how people go through the process and the best ways to handle what happens during the process. This series of questionnaires will help with this

1 Transitions (in general)

. Look at your current organisational situation. Use the following list of 27 actions that you might take to help handle your situation. Scan them to see which sound like good ideas to you, then go back through the list slowly and then assign each a value according to the following categories:

1 = Very important. Do this at once!!!!

2 = Worth doing but takes more time. Start planning it.

3 = Yes and no. Depends on how it's done.

4 = Not very important. May even be a waste of effort.

5 = No! Don't do this.

. Fill in those numbers before the following statements. Take your time as this is not a simple task and categorising the actions effectively is a complicated undertaking.

i) Explain the changes in a carefully written memo.

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ii) Figure out exactly how individuals' behaviour and attitudes will have to change to make the organisation work.

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iii) Analyse who stands to lose something under the new system.

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iv) Modify the compensation system to reward compliance with the changes.

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v) "Sell" the problem that is the reason for the change.

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vi) Bring in a motivational speaker to give employees a powerful talk about teamwork.

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vii) Design temporary systems to contain the confusion during the change over from the old way to the new.

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viii) Use the interim period between the old system and the new to improve the way in which services are delivered by the organisation ‐ and, where appropriate, create new services.

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ix) Change the spatial arrangements of the offices so that the cubicles are separated only by glass or low partitions.

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x) Put management in contact with disgruntled clients, either by phone or in person. Let them see the problem firsthand.

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xi) Appoint a "change manager" to be responsible for seeing that the changes go smoothly.

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xii) Give everyone a badge with a new "teamwork" logo on it.

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xiii) Break the change into smaller stages. Combine the firsts and seconds, then add the thirds later. Change the managers into co‐ordinators last.

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xiv) Talk to the individuals. Ask what kinds of problems they have with the new direction.

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xv) Change the spatial arrangements from individual cubicles to group spaces.

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xvi) Pull the best people in the unit together as a model team to show everyone else how to do it.

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xvii) Give everyone a training seminar on how to work together.

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xviii) Reorganise the CEO's staff as a team and reconstruct the CEO's job as that of a co‐ordinator.

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xix) Send representatives to visit other organisations where an organisational transition has operated successfully.

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xx) Turn the whole thing over to the individual contributors as a group and ask them to come up with a plan to change the organisation to the new way.

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xxi) Scrap the plan and find one that is less disruptive.

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xxii) Tell them to stop dragging their feet or they'll face disciplinary action.

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xxiii) Give bonuses to the individuals or groups who demonstrate the new way of doing things and achieve certain milestones.

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xxiv) Give everyone a copy of the new organisation chart.

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xxv) Start holding regular meetings with staff.

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xxvi) Have both individual and team/group targets, and adjust bonuses to reward both individual and team/group performance.

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xxvii) Talk about transition and what it does to people. Give co‐ordinators a seminar on how to manage people in transition.

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Conclusion

. The single biggest reason organisational changes fail is that no one thought about endings or planned to manage their impact on people. Naturally concerned abut the future, planners and implementers usually forget that people have to let go of the present first. They forget that while the first task of change management is to understand the destination and how to get there, the first task of transition management is to convince people to leave home. You will save yourself a lot of grief if you remember that.

2 Managing Endings: A Checklist

. Answer the questions below with either "yes" or "no". Your answers will help determine what you have to focus on to have an effective transitional process by first handling the "ending" zone.

Yes No

___ ____ Have I studied the change carefully and identified who is likely to lose what ‐ including what I myself am likely to lose?

___ ____ Do I understand the subjective realities of these losses to the people who experience them, even when they seem like overreactions to me?

___ ____ Have I acknowledged these losses with sympathy?

___ ____ Have I permitted people to grieve and publicly expressed my own sense of loss?

___ ____ Have I found ways to compensate people for their losses?

Yes No

___ ____ Am I giving people accurate information and doing it again and again?

___ ____ Have I defined clearly what is over and what isn't?

__ ____ Have I found ways to "mark the ending"?

___ ____ Am I being careful not to denigrate the past but, when possible, to find ways to honour it?

___ ____ Have I made a plan for giving people a piece of the past to take with them?

___ ____ Have I made it clear how the ending we are making is necessary to protect the continuity of the organisation or conditions on which the organisation depends?

___ ____ Is the ending we are making big enough to get the job done in one step?

Final Questions

What actions can you take to help people deal more successfully with the endings that are taking place in your organisation? What can you do today to get started on this aspect of transition management? (Write yourself a note on this!)

3 Managing the Neutral Zone: A Checklist

. Answer the questions below with either "yes" or "no". Your answers will help determine what you have to focus on to have an effective transitional process by handling the neutral zone after handling the "ending" zone

Yes No

___ ____ Have I done my best to normalise the neutral zone by explaining it as an uncomfortable time which, with careful attention, can be turned to everyone's advantage?

___ ____ Have I redefined it by choosing a new and more affirmative metaphor with which to describe it?

___ ____ Have I reinforced that metaphor with training programs, policy changes, and financial rewards for people to keep doing their jobs during the neutral zone?

___ ____ Am I protecting people adequately from further changes?

___ ____ If I can't protect them, am I clustering those changes meaningfully?

___ ____ Have I created the temporary policies and procedures that we need to get us through the neutral zone?

___ ____ Have I treated the temporary roles, reporting relationships, and organisational groupings that we need to get us through the neutral zone?

___ ____ Have I set short‐range goals and checkpoints?

___ ____ Have I set realistic output objectives?

__ ____ Have I found what special training programs we need to deal successfully with the neutral zone?

__ ____ Have I found ways to keep people feeling that they still belong to the organisation and are valued by being part of it? And have I taken care that perks and other forms of "privilege" are not undermining the solidarity of the group?

Yes No

__ ____ Have I set a transition monitoring group/team to keep realistic feedback flowing upward during the time in the neutral zone?

___ ____ Are my people willing to experiment and take risks in intelligently conceived ventures ‐ or are we punishing all failures?

___ ____ Have I stepped back and taken stock of how things are being done in my part of the organisation? (This is worth doing both for its own sake and as a visible model for others' similar behaviour.)

___ ____ Have I provided others with opportunities to do the same thing? Have I provided them with the resources ‐ facilitators, survey instruments, and so on ‐ that will help them do that?

___ ____ Have I seen to it that people build their skills in creative thinking and innovation?

___ ____ Have I encouraged experimentation and seen to it that people are not punished for failing in intelligent efforts that did not pan out?

___ ____ Have I worked to transform the losses of our organisation into opportunities to try doing things a new way?

___ ____ Have I set an example by brainstorming many answers to old problems ‐ the ones that people say you just have to live with? Am I encouraging others to do the same?

___ ____ Am I regularly checking to see that I am not pushing for certainty and closure where it would be more conducive to creativity to live a little longer with uncertainty and questions?

___ ____ Am I using my time in the neutral zone as an opportunity to replace bucket brigades with integrated systems throughout the organisation?

Final Questions

What actions can you take to help people deal more successfully with the neutral zone in which your organisation currently finds itself? What can you do today to get started on this aspect of transition management? (Write yourself a note on this!)

Conclusion

. Behind all of these tactics is the basic idea with which we began, an idea that is more important than any of the tactics themselves: things start when the plan says they will, but the new beginning takes place much more slowly. If transition is mishandled or overlooked completely, beginnings sometimes fail to take place. Then we rationalize the failure by saying that "the change didn't work" or that it "fell short of our expectations."

4 Managing the New Beginning : A Checklist

. Answer the questions below with either "yes" or "no". Your answers will help determine what you have to focus on to have an effective transitional process by handling the "new beginning" after handling the "neutral" and "ending" zones

Yes No

___ ____ Am I distinguishing, in my own mind and in my expectations of others, between the start, which can happen via a planned schedule, and the beginning, which will not?

___ ____ Do I accept the fact that people are going to be ambivalent toward the beginning I am trying to bring about?

___ ____ Have I taken care of the ending(s) and the neutral zone, or am I trying to make a beginning happen before it possibly can?

___ ____ Have I clarified and communicated the purpose of (the idea behind) the change?

___ ____ Have I created an inspiring picture of the change and found ways to communicate it effectively?

___ ____ Have I created a plan for bringing people through the three phases of transition ‐ and distinguished it in my own mind from the change management plan?

___ ____ Have I helped people to discover as soon as possible the part that they will play in the new system ‐ or how the new system will affect the part they play within the organisation?

___ ____ Have I ensured that everyone has a part to play in the transition management process and that they understand that part?

___ ____ Have I checked to see that policies, procedures, and priorities are consistent with the new beginning I am trying to make so that inconsistencies aren't sending a mixed message?

___ ____ Am I watching my own actions carefully to be sure that I am effectively modeling the attitudes and behaviours I am asking others to develop?

___ ____ Have I found ways, financial and non‐financial, to reward people for becoming the new people I am calling upon them to become?

___ ____ Have I built into my plans some occasions for quick success to help people rebuild their self‐confidence and to build the image of the transition as successful?

___ ____ Have I found ways to celebrate the new beginning and the conclusion of the time of transition?

___ ____ Have I found ways to symbolise the new identity ‐ organisational and personal ‐ that is emerging from this period of transition?

___ ____ Have I given people a piece of the transition to keep as a reminder of the difficult and rewarding journey we all took together?

Final Questions

What actions could you take to help people deal more successfully with the new beginnings they must make if your change effort is to succeed? What could you do today to get started on this aspect of transition management? (Write yourself a note on this!)

5 Managing in a World of Non‐stop Change: A Checklist

. Answer the questions below with either "yes" or "no". Your respnses will help determine what you have to focus on to have an effective transitional process in a world of inevitable, non‐stop change

Yes No

___ ____ Have I accepted the fact that non‐stop change is the unavoidable reality today, or am I still fighting it?

___ ____ Am I orchestrating my transition management tactics effectively, shifting from change situation to change situation and from an ending here to a beginning there?

___ ____ Do I have an overall design in which this particular transition makes sense?

___ ____ If I do not have such a design, am I working to create one for myself and my people by "connecting the dots" or identifying the "end of a chapter"?

___ ____ Am I being careful not to introduce extra, unrelated changes while my people are still struggling to respond to big transitions?

___ ____ Am I watching out that I don't stake too much on a "forecasted" future?

___ ____ Am I making (and asking others to make) life‐cycle projections to identify and start creating replacements for policies, systems, and structures that have passed their midlife points?

___ ____ Do I include worst‐case scenarios with my change management plans, both for their own sake and as "contrarian" forecasts?

___ ____ Am I planning and managing the transition from "occasional change" to "change as the norm" and encouraging others to do the same?

___ ____ Do I honestly think of the status quo as a temporary and expedient resting place in a time of constant change?

___ ____ Do I talk of change as the best way to preserve the essential continuity of the organisation?

___ ____ Have I clarified the mission of my organisation and helped others under me to do the same for their level of the organisation?

___ ____ Are these missions distinguished from our objectives?

___ ____ Do I have a deep feeling for this mission, or am I merely mouthing words?

Am I actively working to rebuild trust in the following ways :

___ ____ Being very careful to do what I say I will do?

___ ____ Listening to people carefully and letting them know what I hear them saying?

___ ____ Understanding what matters to people and working hard to protect whatever is related to that?

___ ____ Sharing myself honestly (without letting honesty be a cover for hostility)?

___ ____ Asking for feedback and acknowledging unasked‐for‐feedback on the subject of my own trustworthiness?

___ ____ Remembering not to push others to trust me further than I trust them?

___ ____ Trying to extend my trust of others a little further?

___ ____ Not confusing being trustworthy with "being a buddy"?

___ ____ Not being surprised if my trust‐building is viewed a bit suspiciously?

___ ____ Constantly reminding myself, "Tell the truth"?

___ ____ Have I worked hard to unpack old baggage, heal old wounds, and finish unfinished business?

___ ____ Do I regularly work to sell the organisation's problems?

___ ____ Do I look at my own organisational environment as a challenge and encourage others to do the same?

___ ____ Do I respond to these challenges creatively and help others to do the same ‐ or do we get caught up in competitiveness for a piece of a shrinking pie?

Final Questions

What actions could you take to help people deal more successfully with the non‐stop change in which your organisation currently finds itself? What could you do today to get started on this task? (Write yourself a note on this!)

6 Taking Care of Yourself: A Checklist

. Answer the questions below with either "yes" or "no". Your answers will help determine what you have to focus on to take care of yourself in a transition process

Yes No

___ ____ Have I determined how my situation and my future have been changed by the recent, the current, or the planned organisational changes? What exactly is going to be different for me?

___ ____ What part of myself am I losing or am I likely to lose in the transition that is triggered by the change? Something that has been important to me is ending. What is it? When is it time for me to let go of it?

___ ____ What losses in my life outside of my work maybe amplifying the feelings I'm getting from the endings that are taking place on the job?

___ ____ Can I identify signs of mourning in myself? If so, do I accept them as natural, or am I trying to get over it and move on too quickly?

___ ____ Have I tried to separate my reaction to the present from the resonance it maybe setting off within me? And if the resonance is strong, have I sought professional counselling?

___ ____ Have I stopped and reflected on the continuities in my life (including those I've temporarily lost touch with) and done whatever I need to do to strengthen them?

___ ____ Am I recognising many of my feelings as the normal symptoms of life in the neutral zone, or am I imagining that they mean there is something personally wrong with me?

___ ____ Have I made the necessary temporary arrangements and agreements to give myself a temporary time‐out from decisions and responsibilities that can wait?

___ ____ Have I found quiet times and stable places to give myself a respite from the chaos I so often feel around and within me these days?

___ ____ Have I set short‐range objectives for myself to restore a sense of movement and achievement during this time?

___ ____ Have I taken the time to take stock of where I stand in my life now, both in relation to the goals I have set myself in the past and in terms of my own present dreams and needs, which might make other goals more rewarding to me?

___ ____ Am I actively trying to see myself with new eyes, especially in terms of what I desire, my abilities, my resources, and my basic temperament?

___ ____ Am I pushing myself to break out of my old ways of seeing my life and the options I have today?

___ ____ Am I asking why? and why not? when I look at how my life is at the moment? (And am I accepting the ordinary, common‐sense answers to those questions?)

___ ____ Am I letting myself play with outrageous possibilities, viewing them as paths that may lead to something workable in the long run?

___ ____ Am I thinking of analogies and metaphors for my situation ("It's like a ...) and then trying to change them and come up with new ones?

___ ____ Have I pushed myself (preferably with others' help) to write down 15 or 20 different things I could do in my present situation?

___ ____ Am I committed to experimenting with my life this week?

___ ____ Have I designed a learning venture for myself, a way to acquire the knowledge and skills I need to deal successfully with my new opportunities?

___ ____ Do I have a "project plan" (as well thought‐out as I'd make for a work project) for what I'm going to do with my life and career at this point?

___ ____ Have I taken into account transitions that are likely to occur as I pursue that plan, and have I taken steps to manage them?

Finally, am I remembering the only 4 rules of living that I'm likely ever to need:?

___ ____ Am I showing up?

___ ____ Am I being present?

___ ____ Am I telling the truth?

___ ____ Am I letting go of outcomes?

Final Questions

What actions could you take to help yourself deal more successfully with the personal and organisational transitions in which you currently find yourself? What could you do today to get started on this task? (Write yourself a note on this!)

(source: William Bridges, 1991)


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