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Four Questions Your Change Plan Must Answer Part 1: Where Are You Now?

Updated: May 21, 2018

This is the start of a four-part series on launching a change program that makes a difference.


A solid change plan that sticks and helps make change and adaptation part of your culture starts with your current position.

  • What’s happening right now?

  • What’s working?

  • What are you most proud of?

  • What history and set of good (and not so good) practices are you bringing with you?

This means two things for developing a change plan that has a chance of sticking.

First, you need to gather information about what’s going on—and we mean what’s really going on—the stuff below the water line that people are talking about and that’s keeping them busy.

Second, you need to Start Together—without that it’s very likely people will dive underwater and turn your change project into a gossip source.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! You want to know more than what data analytics can tell you. Go ahead, collect and use all the data you have, because that will help you form a complete story. The guts of the current situation assessment, though, lies in the stories people tell about what’s really going on.


Involvement up front is key to success. If I have a voice in what we’re talking about, how we’re going to address challenges—then it’s more likely I’ll participate and even contribute my creative energy. Like the J to the right—every change journey starts together.

Getting Everyone Involved

But how do you do this without things getting chaotic? And how do you make sure your voice as leader or boss doesn’t dominate? You become part of a team. You’re not making decisions here—you’re figuring out what’s going on, so you need everyone involved. You are sending an invitation

to play, and taking a step towards openness, inclusion and trust.

First, create a planning team. Get a small group of people together from across the organization to talk about what they are seeing and hearing. Encourage them to answer the questions together about what’s happening, what’s working and what is the history you must come to grips with in order to move forward.

Second, decide together what is the best way to hear everyone’s voice and start building a track record of inclusion and openness. Depending on the size and shape of your organization, this may range from an all-staff retreat to a focus group approach. What’s most important, though, is that you mobilize working sessions that set a tone of paying attention to current needs and send the message of a Joint commitment to building the future.

Third, use the data you’ve got! If you know about engagement, attendance, retention and any other information you have about the state of the team, bring it out here. The key, though, is to make the data part of the current situation assessment, and not THE assessment.

Face to face dialogue counts. Starting together is all about live people working on live challenges in real time, answering Where are we now? with each other. There is no substitute for that.

Once you know with some certainty where your business and your team currently stand, then you can start thinking about the next important question to answer: Where Are You Going? We’ll help you sort through that challenge in the next post in this series, so stay tuned.

Do you have the insights to take a first step? Check out our client story about Launching and Scaling Up Change for a live example.

Building your expertise in the Powerful Pathway of

TAGS: Launching and Scaling Up Change, Starting Together, Past, Planning Team, Inclusion

Coming up in the series:

2: Where Are You Going?

3: What Are Your Challenges?

4: How Are You Getting There?

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