Planning for change

Making changes in your business is a necessary part of continuously improving your people, products, services and performance. There are many reasons for change. The type of change you are experiencing, and your reasons for it, will influence the way you plan your change process.

Developing a business case to identify and describe your business changes will help you explain changes to your staff and keep your planning on track. A clear and well-reasoned business case for change can help you steer your way through your change process and will save time and effort once the process is underway. Keep these important planning steps in mind when preparing your business case.

Think about your reasons for change

Write down why you believe your business needs change and what you need to change. List the problems, risks, weaknesses or inefficiencies that you have identified as being threats to business growth.

Test your argument for change

Measure your reasons for change against your business and market knowledge to ensure the argument for change is strong. Consider the list of problems you have identified and review your market research, business strategy and business records to revisit and refine your argument for change. Consider whether your information source is reliable.

List the steps you need to take

Describe the actions required to make changes that will last - and that will address the problems you have identified. Consider whether there are any other options that can help you overcome the problems and achieve the gains you need.

State your case

Undertake a cost-benefit analysis and write out your argument for change. This will help you show your staff that you have considered all other options, and secure their trust and confidence in your change decision.

Set and clarify project goals

Consider the outcomes you want to achieve through your change process and define a clear set of goals. These goals should describe how you want your business to look, operate, behave and position itself in the market. For example, your goals might identify the market share you want to achieve, the kind of operating environment you want to create, or the reputation and relationship you want with your customers.

Set your targets

Your targets should define what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it. Establish a series of targets that help you realise each of your goals.

Establish change management objectives

Your objectives should focus on the kind of change environment you want to create for your staff. Your objectives might define the level of commitment, involvement and motivation you want to secure from your staff.

Identify critical stages or milestones

Define the stages of your change process. These stage descriptions will help you identify the steps you need to take to reach each of your goals and targets. From here, you can develop an action plan that helps you bring your change process to life.

Also consider...