How to Prototype Organizational Change for Better Results

prototype organizational change to get big results

Do You Ever Prototype Organizational Change?
Organizational change rarely goes according to plan.  Should you prototype organizational change for better results?

The Deeper the Change the More Difficult It Will Most Likely Be
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.

Unfortunately, There is No Crystal Ball for Complex Change
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, Small and Planned Change Experiments Can Provide Valuable Feedback
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.

Two Change Management Prototype Tips to Get Started
Here are a couple of tips on how to design and manage the change tests:

1.  Remember Small Is Better
Whenever possible:

  • Try to test one variable at a time so you can tie reactions directly to the immediate change
  • Keep the team small enough to learn, manage and quickly adjust without too many distractions
  • Be clear on the desired outcomes and how the lessons will be applied and help move the larger change forward.

2.  Focus on Learning as a 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 Bottom Line
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.  Incremental changes over time can cause significant and positive improvements.  You do not always need to take big actions to get significant change or to be on the path to success.

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

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