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Creating Conditions for Successful Change

January 1, 2007 12:40 AM 1
Total Posts: 46
Join Date: January 1, 2007
Rank: Executive
Post Date: January 1, 1970
Posts: 46
Location: United States

Creating Conditions for Successful Change


If a gardener neglects to condition his soil in the spring, he might work his hands to the bone all summer—just to end up with a disappointing harvest in the fall. On the other hand, if time and energy are put into the garden up front, before the seeds are even planted, the garden will be much more prolific.

Have your change leaders done their up-front work? Have they removed the weeds, tilled the soil and added the necessary fertilizer to grow your change efforts successfully? If so, consider yourself lucky. Few leaders truly understand the need to establish these conditions for success early on in their change efforts.

Ensuring that conditions for success are in place is essential to achieve your desired outcomes. When established, they generally increase speed, lower cost, improve design solutions and radically increase stakeholder buy-in and support. Establishing conditions for success requires real wisdom. Leaders must appreciate the value in preparing their organization’s soil. This discipline of “going slow to go fast” is counter to most leaders’ nature, but in the end, it produces far more output at a lower cost.

Every change effort is dominated by either conditions for success or conditions for failure. Common conditions for failure include proceeding before the executive team is aligned and fully supportive of the change, putting change activities on top of people’s already overflowing plates without any reprioritization of their work, designing the change solution with little or no input from the people who will be impacted by the change and establishing an untenable timeline based simply on leadership desire, not operational reality. Key conditions for successful change include adequate resources, time to focus on change activities, leadership alignment, clear governance of the change and how it interfaces with current operations, adequate stakeholder input to the design solution, leaders who model what they are asking of others and employees who really understand the case for the change. Which type of conditions dominates your current change efforts? Keep in mind that conditions for success must be consciously chosen, created, nurtured and sustained by your leaders.

How should you engage your leaders? They have all been through many change efforts. Why don’t you simply ask them to reflect on their experiences? Ask them to generate their list of key conditions for an important change effort, and then obtain their commitment to actually create these conditions and sustain them throughout your transformation. You can use your conditions in many powerful ways:

Second Part of the article at


Anuj Jain