Home Tools Coaching Questions Soliciting the Pre-Mortem and Riding the Change Curve: Coaching Tools, Strategies and Concepts for Effective Planning

Soliciting the Pre-Mortem and Riding the Change Curve: Coaching Tools, Strategies and Concepts for Effective Planning

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Third, the person or organization must be sufficiently “healthy” to live through the disruption of change. Ironically, major change efforts often are most successful when they are not really needed. Under conditions of crisis, a person or organization often is unable to live with the change curve, hence will return to the status quo or initiate another change, which hopefully will be immediately successful. Since the latter hope is rarely realized and the return to a former crisis state is rarely gratifying, the stress on a person or organization is usually intensified by a change effort.

Fourth, a change curve can be successfully endured if the person or organization sets realistic deadlines and high but realistic goals for the change effort. In other words, adequate planning and evaluation must precede and accompany any successful change effort.  This is where the pre-mortem analysis conducted by a group or offered by a coach can be of great value. The change curve must be anticipated in setting up deadlines and timelines for program planning, initiation and review. Formative, nonjudgmental evaluation of the change effort may be appropriate at a relatively early point in the change effort (for example, one to two months), while more judgmental, summative evaluation should not occur until the change curve can be expected to be on an upturn (usually four to six months after the start of a major change).

If the goals for a change effort are not clearly formulated and if adequate assessment of current resources has not taken place before the change is initiated, then one will rarely be able to sustain commitment over a long changeover period, nor make critical judgments concerning an upturn in productivity and morale at the right point during the change effort. One should be able to set a time for program review prior to the start of a change effort. While this review date might be open to some adjustment as the change effort unfolds, one should be able to determine at some point relatively early in the life of a change effort if the downturn in productivity and morale is about to end or has ended. If the downturn continues or if productivity and morale level off at a low level, then a decision should be made to explore the reasons for this failure and to revise the change program, initiate a new program (based on lessons learned from the current change effort) or return to the previous status (with a new appreciation for its positive attributes and/or with suggestions for less drastic modifications in its structure).

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