Companies face many change-management issues: technology, people, customers, company focus, and benefits, to name just a few. Yet I don’t often hear people talk about thinking differently as a change-management issue.
Yes, we discuss corporate culture changes, but what I’m referring to here is changing people’s thinking that planning isn’t possible. Even leadership starts with the construct that planning isn’t possible: “There are too many unknowns and things that could change to plan. And besides, I’d never be able to get people to do it anyhow.”
To me, one the biggest change-management issues is first getting leaders to consider that planning is possible and then to infuse this belief throughout the organization.
How do you do this? Planning isn’t the written document. It’s the process and visioning that you go through to create it. Thus the first step is to shift our thinking about planning from a document to the process. Without this process we never stretch beyond our comfort zone. When we don’t stretch, we miss the breakthrough possibilities.
Secondly, even the document you create should be considered a living document. It’s meant as a guide for you to assess where you are, every month and quarter, and to help you determine what changes you need to make. You’ll never be able to forecast everything, let alone plan around it. That’s why you return your plan and revise as needed.
Finally, let go of the belief that others won’t embrace planning. If you believe they will embrace it, and encourage them to, they will eventually. Just remember, change-management issues mean shifting how people think, believe, and react. You play a role in this, and it starts with you and how you think, believe, and act.