Continuing with the topic of ‘Change’; CLO-Mag recently posted this article, which encourages us to basically ‘get off our backsides and do it’. An interesting point given that I quite regularly speak to people who are trying to implement positive change only to be held up by all manner of things that all-too-often end up killing the project altogether.
By: David Vance – Chief Learning Officer Magazine – 13/09/11
Just start. This is probably the best and most basic advice I can give.
During the past nine months, we have talked about many opportunities for improvement and countless ways to run learning like a business. For many, these involve a change in approach, thinking and processes. And, since change is involved, there is always inertia to overcome. After all, even if a process could be improved, some are probably quite content with the existing state. Consequently, you can expect to hear “We are not ready for that yet” or “It will take years to get our systems (like an LMS) to be able to support that” or “We don’t have the data to do that.” Just start.
Of course, you should spend the time and effort to research, analyze and thoroughly discuss the proposed changes. Spend time to articulate the desired state and consider what will be required to get there. Anticipate resistance and take steps to mitigate it. But agree that you will spend just a finite time in the planning stage (six months, maybe 12 months for a very large change). Then you are moving to implementation even if the plan is not perfect (it will never be), you don’t have all the resources you would like (never will), and you still have doubts about exactly how it will turn out (welcome to the real world). Just start.
If the change is complex, identify the steps. If you cannot identify all the steps, identify the early steps. Then take the first step. And then take the second step. It is amazing how many never take the first step because they cannot exit the planning stage. They are paralyzed by uncertainty, the unknown and the fear of failure. This guarantees failure. The secret to success is planning just enough and then moving to execution in the face of uncertainty. Trust that you and your team will work out the details and handle the unexpected. No amount of planning can prepare you for all that is ahead. Don’t wait for perfect processes, systems or data. They don’t exist. Just start.
Start with the first step. Start with partial (incomplete) data. Start with a few business units instead of all of them. Start with the highest priority programs instead of waiting until you can start with all the programs. Start with a few of your good sponsors. Start with your own staff and create a safe environment to practice new processes or behavior. You will learn and your confidence will grow. You will refine your plan. Just start.