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Change Overload and Joy

change leadership Aug 04, 2022

Written by Roxanne Brown

Multiple simultaneous changes is business-as-usual for most companies. It’s often necessary for companies to make several changes at the same time in response to a risk or opportunity. So how do you manage all of this?

Practical & Tactical

If you are leading a team that’s impacted by this, it’s a good time to do some light analysis to see how you can manage this well. 

First, learn as much as you can about the impact of each change to your team by asking lots of questions:

  1. What is and isn’t changing?
  2. What will your team need to do differently?
  3. What’s in the way that needs to be addressed in some way?
  4. What details are still to be worked out?
  5. What are you empowered to decide to implement the change?
  6. How does this relate to the bigger picture of the company? How does it help with achieving the current business objectives and the overall direction of the business?
  7. What benefits are expected?
  8. How soon does this need to happen, what are the dependencies and what can your team uniquely do to make it happen well?
  9. How will you lead this change with others?
  10. How will you and others know you’re collectively making progress?

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to learn all of the answers because often there are many decisions still to be made. However, once you have a sense of the change, you can start to analyze the timing and size of each shift. 

  • What is in the way of the change? What’s inside and outside of your control?
    • For those things outside your control, who would it be wise to alert about this risk to a successful change?
    • For those things inside your control:
      • What could you stop doing? By when? What would need to happen before you stop?
      • What could you adjust to align with the change? By when? What would need to happen before you make the adjustment?
  • What work needs to continue regardless?
  • How could you distribute this change workload and business-as-usual workload over time?

With these answers you can build a high-level roadmap that helps you see the timing of the major work that needs to take place over time to manage these transitions. You’ll also be able to see opportunities to bundle similar work efforts and how you could sequence things so it makes sense. A roadmap view can prepare you for more change because you’ll be able to readily see where adjustments to your roadmap can be made and what’s non-negotiable.

If you’re struggling with understanding how to prioritize the competing changes, that’s a good time to talk through the situation with others to see what options emerge -- your manager, mentor, advisors, peers.

You can show them the analysis you’ve done so far:

  • Here are the priorities we have today
  • Here are the conflicts the changes present
  • I’d like to explore some options with you to see what makes sense from your point of view
  • Here is the impact I’m seeing that I’m seeking to solve
  • Here are the options I’ve considered so far and the related tradeoffs

Your role is to provide them with information so they can help you make a decision on what to prioritize. If the conversation is with your manager, they may have information you do not have which compels them to the recommendations they make. By providing them with your assessment of the impact, you help them become your thought partner to arrive at a good decision. 

Raising Up

If you are leading change for your company, it’s useful to raise this analysis up to the major functions of the organization.

  1. How does each change impact each part of the company?
  2. What will the function need to do differently?
  3. How big a change is this to the function? Why? This sizing doesn’t need to be precise. A categorization of Small, Medium or Large can be enough to give you a view of where the biggest risks are. 
  4. What is the timing of the change?
  5. What’s in the way that needs to be addressed in some way?
  6. What details are still to be worked out?
  7. How does this relate to the bigger picture of the company? How does it help with achieving the current business objectives and the overall direction of the business?
  8. What benefits are expected?
  9. Who needs to be involved to lead the change well?
  10. How will you and others know you’re collectively making progress?

Again, not all of the answers will be known at any given point in time because often you learn more and make more decisions as the change is implemented. However, you can often get enough information to put together a high-level view of the change across the company, timing and size that helps you see the risks and opportunities. 

From here, you can make smart decisions about where you can adjust to reduce the risks to achieving successful change transitions. A view like this can help you see opportunities to sequence and combine the changes.

Change professionals typically perform an impact assessment to understand how a business change impacts the people involved. They then create strategies to make it easier for the company and people to make the transition. As a team leader, you can use this same concept for your team and make it easier for you and your team to manage it all.

Create Your Joy at Work Intention

A Self-Paced Video Course

This course steps you through a process to develop your Joy at Work Intention as a Change Expert which serves as a touchstone to guide your words and actions, especially when things get difficult. Your intention statement helps you navigate risky situations and see the opportunities to show others your vision for how to lead others to change. Your Joy at Work Intention clarifies the impact you hope to have through your work.

Learn more!