What Is Your Change Thesis?
Change this. Change that. Don’t change this. Don’t change that. Have you ever been in workplaces where change changes every day?
What makes it worse is when the constant changing directions comes from the same person. One day, they are driving Change A. The next day, they are driving Change B. Wake-up again, and we are back to Change A.
Workplace whiplash happens, and no one benefits. Besides this, the direction remains unset and the problem unsolved.
Cultures that embrace circular changes are unhealthy. Some may argue that this is the world we live in. Change is constant. Although there is truth here, real change can only happen when you select a direction or solution and then give it time to develop. Shifting positions constantly does not address marketplace or industry changes.
To Drive Real Change, Develop A Change Thesis
A change thesis is a statement on what the key working assumptions are based on significant facts. Given the key assumptions, the change thesis states the required direction and plans to achieve success. The change thesis must be agreed to by key leaders within a business or organization.
A change thesis should not be complex or long. An elegant change thesis is simple in facts and powerful in resulting direction. In other words, when read, people nod their heads in agreement. The change thesis passes a common sense test.
A Solid Change Thesis Is Thoughtful, Concise, Clear, Timely & Actionable
Thoughtful - Some research and analysis needs to be done in order to understand why the change needs to occur and what change needs to happen. There has to be a solid foundation for the change. We can have opinions about what the change should be, but we cannot just base our opinions purely on past experience or gut-feel. At some point a decision is required. However, there needs to be a solid, well thought-out basis for it. This isn’t over-analysis. This isn’t getting stuck. This is about thinking through a situation or scenario and ensuring you have made the most informed decision possible about what change to make.
Concise - Keep it short and meaningful.
Clear - Concise and clear go hand-in-hand. You can be concise yet unclear. Do both. Clarity rallies others to understand the purpose of the change. With clarity, team members can identify ways to change their work and habits to pursue the new direction. To be clear, use words to define and declare. A visual image of what the change looks like can help too.
Timely - Better late than never is never a really good answer. You can be late for the necessary change but you may be too late, losing all credibility or squandering your market position. A change thesis needs to have a strong element of timeliness. Timeliness makes the change relevant and serves as a rallying point.
Actionable - All words and no action get you nowhere. All words and no action on your part snowballs into others doing the same. A static culture happens. A declining business happens. The change thesis must be actionable. A change thesis needs to be tangible so teams can grasp what they could or need to do next. Most of all, the change needs to inspire action and create a cohesive culture ready to perform.
Change Is Not An Excuse For Poor Plans, Change Requires A Thesis
Change is all around. Grab on to the relevant changes and develop a thesis on what is important and how to navigate it. Change is too important to waste. Make your change meaningful and successful.