How to sharpen up vaguely specified changes

Too many changes are described in vague language. We want to “go from good to great”, or “get to the next level”, or we want to resolve “communication issues” or “get people to take ownership”.  These are all fine as starting points, but they need to be nailed down if you want more than vague results.

So I will often respond to statements such as those above by saying the following: “Image we did a Before-and-After documentary about the change process. The film crew would film the current situation, and then would come back at the end and film again. What differences would you want to see and hear on the two playbacks, so that you said to me: ‘LOOK! LISTEN! That’s the difference. That’s how I know they have taken ownership’ (or whatever the objective might be)?”

Here’s a template:

Why is there also a column for Business Impact? Because the impact is what will determine how much effort, resource and urgency should be put into the change. Too often, people spend a lot of time and energy on improvements  of only marginal consequence, but don’t make big enough investments in things that would make a huge difference .


© 2012 Andrew Bass. All Rights Reserved.