There are times in any change project when we have to decide how to migrate from the status quo to a new way of working.
Most projects try to migrate smoothly, one step at a time, from A to B, but sometimes there is pressure to do things more quickly. There may be a wolf at the door, and to hesitate will guarantee failure.
This where the idea of catastrophe theory is useful.
It goes something like this.
If we want to change quickly, really change, we have to stop doing the things that we used to do and only do the new thing. However, some people like the old ways so much that they keep going back to them. Even when they have learned to do new things.
To prevent this we need to cut off the route to the old ways and only allow the new ones. With no way back we can only operate in the new ways.
So here is what we need to do when rapid change is needed.
When the team is ready, i.e. it has learned the new ways, we permanently cut off the old ways. For example, close down the old system, throw away the old furniture, lock the doors in the old office, shut down and archive the old website, etc.
If you leave any return route open, people will work hard to find and use it. They will plead the case for audit, for learning from old ways, for recycling useful stuff etc. Resist these where you can, they are the foundations for wholesale reversion to old ways and your opportunity to implement change a second time around may never happen.
Have a great week.
About the Author: Adam Blackie is a professional Interim Manager who leads service delivery teams through their change programmes. He works with CEO’s and their Boards in the UK to change the way technology is used by staff and their customers.