Leading successful change
Posted on 12th April 2021 at 12:20
If you are planning a change project, large or small, this might help.
I frequently facilitate strategy review and strategy planning sessions with not-for-profits. One of my approaches is to use a change formula to inform the design of the overall process and/or specific workshops.
The formula: Gleicher's Change Formula: D X V X F > R
Here is an illustration of how the formula might be used to facilitate a workshop with the senior leadership – Board and Executive.
The workshop is in four parts and focused around a limited number of questions. Each question relates to an element of the formula, as follows:
What is your level of dissatisfaction with the current situation?
For change to be successful there needs to be a requirement and energy to move from the current situation. This creates forward momentum.
Dissatisfactions might include:
Persistent challenges which have been resistant to a resolution;
Frustrations about not being able to consistently focus on important strategic issues;
Overwhelm with the volume and complexity of work and its challenges;
Wanting to access new opportunities;
Having to respond to significant changes in the context – Covid is a good example of this.
What are the Big Questions which this Strategic Plan needs to answer?
Strategic plans are always developed in a particular time and context. A really useful approach is to think of the plan as being an answer to a couple of key questions that the organisation is currently facing.
For a not-for-profit the questions might be:
How do we find new freedom within the constraints of our funding agreements to respond more comprehensively to our client’s needs?
How do we reconnect with our founding purpose so as to fulfil its promise and potential;
How do we strike an appropriate balance between the scale or our ambition and our capacity to deliver?
How do we grow our scale and impact beyond our current geographic catchment area?
What are the overarching headlines (maximum of 3) for the next 3 years?
The previous section Big Questions which this Strategic Plan needs to answer will identify a wide range of issues which need to be tackled. In order to begin to narrow these down into the core issues and to build alignment among the leadership, they are asked to identify a limited number of overarching headlines - a maximum of three.
What will get in the way of the organisation achieving its Strategic objectives?
If there is one lesson to be learned from Covid it’s that organisational plans, particularly multi-annual plans, need to be held lightly. Because we don’t know what may be around the corner that will prompt a change in the plan (or blow it completely out of the water!)
One way of reality testing the plan is to identify what might get in the way, both internally and externally. This builds agility to anticipate and respond to change.
Example of what might get in the way, from outside the organisation, could include:
Not able to access sufficient funding;
A changing economic environment and public finances;
A change in government policy;
Declining levels of public trust in not-for–profits;
Changing expectations of public funders.
Example of what might get in the way, from inside the organisation, could include:
Not able to attract and retain skilled staff;
Misalignment between the Board and the staff on organisational priorities;
Not leaving space for unplanned events;
Trying to do too much with too little;
Frustrations with Silo working.
The benefits of this approach?
A workshop delivered in this way will have a number of benefits:
Create a space for the leadership team to reflect, reenergise and refocus;
Build understanding and alignment among the leadership team about the priority issues and expectations for the next 3 years;
Identify and complexities, uncertainties and variables involved in planning for the future;
Using Gleicher’s Change Formula - D x V x F > R, will develop a shared understanding about the nature of change and what is required to achieve lasting, sustainable change.
If you would like to hear more about my facilitation work check out my website.
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