How to Prototype Organizational Change for Better Results

prototype organizational change to get big results

Should you prototype organizational change for better results?

Organizational change rarely goes according to plan.  The deeper the changes you seek are embedded into the cultural DNA, the more difficult the desired changes will be.  Why?  Because the way people think, work and behave becomes explicitly or implicitly embedded in a system of deeply held beliefs, attitudes, policies, traditions, habits, customs, and taboos which constitute the unique corporate culture of that organization.

And to make things more difficult, there is often no sure-fire way to predict the totality of the effects of change in your business until they happen.

But the good news is that you can discover a great deal about how a change will affect your employees, customers, partners and investors by conducting small and planned change experiments beforehand.  In other words, you can prototype organizational change.  Change management consulting experts recommend that you test change before implementation whenever possible so that you are fully prepared to deal with the intended and unintended consequences of the changes you seek.

Here are a couple of tips on how to design and manage the change tests:

  1. Small is better. Whenever possible, try to test one variable at a time so you can tie reactions directly to the immediate change. Also try to keep the team small enough to learn, manage and quickly adjust without too many distractions. Just be clear on the desired outcomes and how the lessons will be applied and help move the larger change forward.
  1. Learning is the Result. Even when the result is negative, make sure you learn something. Keep records of all the change tests so you can review and revise. The point is to come up with an approach that is as close to perfect as possible before you fully implement the change.

The more you can learn about what your key stakeholders want and need before you institute major change, the more effective and lasting the change will be.  And incremental changes over time can cause significant and positive improvements.  because you do not always need to take big actions to get significant change, these change experiments should put you on the path to success.

To learn more about organizational change, download A New Way to Think About Change: The Agile Organization

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