5 Steps to Taking Action Without Certainty
Effective change management requires moving forward with no guarantee of success. You can plan and strategize all you want, but at some point you will have to implement that change. Only then will you know for sure whether it works or not.
This is one of the most useful lessons I picked up from the world of improv comedy:
Success comes not from having a fully formed idea right up front, but rather by taking one step, seeing what happens, and adjusting as you go.
This is not to say that effective change management is about “winging it,” or abandoning planning altogether. It just means that plans are limited, and if you wait until you have created a perfect plan that covers all contingencies and guarantees success, you’ll never get started.
(For more info, check out Avish’s TEDx talk on improv comedy and effective change management).
Effective Change Management Techniques
Here are five steps you can implement to take action when you are going through a change. You can also apply this more broadly and use them as ways to create effective change management in your organization.
- Get Clear – Why are you taking this action? What is your goal? What are you trying to achieve? When you are clear on where you are trying to get to you have a much easier time adjusting and staying on track when things don’t go as planned. This makes your change management efforts much more effective. It’s when people only focus on their plan that they waste tremendous time and energy.
- Minimize Risk – The danger in taking action when success is uncertain is that you could lose time, money, energy, and more. The key is to minimize risk by thinking lean and agile. Don’t bet the whole farm right out of the gate. Start with a small step where the loss is acceptable. Shrink the task until the potential loss is something you can live with. One caveat: Effective change management should involve some loss. If you try to shrink the task to a point where there is no chance of loss, then your steps will be insignificant.
- Take Action – Sounds simple, but I know many people who had great ideas but never even took the first step. Heck, I have a few projects of my own that I have yet to take an action on. Don’t get caught up in over-planning! Effective change management is not about having it all figured out in advance. You will learn far more and make more progress by taking action and studying the results than you will trying to prepare for every contingency. So ACT!
- Analyze – One of the hallmarks of being lean and agile is that after each discrete step you analyze the results. What worked? What didn’t? What did we learn? Should we stay on the plan or adjust? This stage not only helps you stay on track, but by regularly taking stock of what’s going on you reduce the likelihood of wasting time and money on a losing prospect.
- Adjust and Try Again or Quit – Once you’ve analyzed, it’s time to make adjustments and try again (or take the next step). Or quit – gasp! A motivational speaker talking about quitting?!? Yes, quitting. Effective change management is not about sticking to a pre-set plan no mater what happens. Not all paths are brilliant. Not all goals are achievable. Most importantly, you may decide that what you set out to achieve isn’t worth achieving or isn’t really what you want. Quitting the things that don’t matter makes room for the things that do.
Life is uncertain. Developing effective change management skills will help you deal and take action in the face of that uncertainty. Rather than waiting for a guarantee that things will go your way, adopt the mindset and approach of the improviser: start with a plan, take a small step, and analyze and adjust as you go. You may not always end up where you planned, but you will often end up somewhere wonderful…
How Improv, Ding Happens, and Avish can Help
Avish has a process that uses improv comedy tools, ideas, and principles to help people accept, manage, and take advantage of change. His interactive programs are fun, engaging, and highly relevant.
Avish can help you increase the adaptability in your workplace in several ways:
Speaking at Your Annual Meetings
Presenting ideas around improv and change to a large group of people in a short period of time (45-90 minutes). Avish’s presentations are fun, engaging, interactive, motivational, and designed to open-minds and get people started down the path of adaptability and innovation.
Training at your Workplace
Working hands-on with a smaller group of people for a longer time where the focus is on skills-transfer. Giving your team the skills and practice to implement these ideas in the real word.
Facilitation at Your Next Leadership Retreat
Taking your leadership team through a process that helps them create a plan of their own to increase creativity and innovation throughout the entire organization.
Contact us now to book Avish to help your team respond to, embrace, and take advantage of change in the workplace!