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How do you know the ‘change’ has worked?

February 28, 2023
When we add humans to a process and make a change that impacts habits and behaviours, often the changes made don’t have the desired effect. So how do we know if the change has ‘worked’?

Within the planning stage of a change I believe we often miss a critical step and all too often it’s missed as we quickly want to make the change and get on with it.

Late last week I caught myself jumping into the doing phase and had to STOP and reconsider before making the change.

I was then having a discussion with a client on Friday and once again realised we were both about to do this again, jump in before considering the change. In this instance a staff member was going to instruct an existing worker in a new skill using a new method of instructing. 

The same question popped up again … How do we know if the change has worked?

To enable an effective answer to this question we need to predict what we ‘think’ will happen, and then after the change has been made, we need to check to see if it did happen. If we don’t consciously make the prediction, we will have nothing to check.

So what ‘prediction questions’ could assist before making a change to consciously allow you to check if the change had worked?

Whatever the actions you determine could be applied you could then ask the following questions.

  • What effect do you think this action will have on the objective (yes that assume there is an objective)?
  • What effect do you think this will have on the individual?
  • What effect do you think this will have on the group?
  • What effect do you think this will have on production (or the supply of the service)?

Using the existing work/new instructing method example, what we hadn’t considered carefully was the effect that the instructing would have on the individual, the instructor. Although they had assisted in creating the training document, they were nervous about instructing. I knew this, but for some reason thought creating this document would ‘fix’ the nervousness. After discussion with the individual, we decided to test the instructing on me (for the first time). They felt more comfortable as they realised, we were testing the method of instructing not themself.

By taking the time to consider the answers to the four questions above it will then allow us all to check at a later time to see if the change has worked.