One of the biggest barriers to new projects and transformation is a lack of communication. Learn how a case for change document builds awareness, creates support and minimizes resistance, so your project runs smoother. We share three questions to include to make sure it’s as effective as possible.
Programs and projects fail for a variety of reasons. When embarking on a new project, we often hear, “Last time we tried this, it did not work out the way we had hoped. What can you do to help us realize the benefits we are expecting from this program?”
Because of this recurring theme for many organizations, let’s look at why this continues to be an issue in so many companies: One of the major causes of failure is a lack of communication about the reasons for even doing the project.
Often, senior leaders agree on a change and walk out of the room with a basic understanding of what’s changing and why. Without a strong case for change everyone agrees on and funnels down into the organization, messages mix and different perspectives from leaders end up flavoring what their respective departments hear.
While it may sound so simple, companies often overlook it. However, creating the case for change can act as a solid foundation of awareness and communication for your transformation and change efforts. And, it’ll help you with leadership alignment at the same time.
Building the Case for Change
The case for change builds awareness, support and commitment for the project by communicating to key stakeholders:
1. Why are we doing this? Why should our stakeholders care?
A key component of any transformation or change within your organization is a clear statement of why you are making the change. When you give your people the perspective on the decision-making behind the project and why it should matter to them, it reduces any confusion and minimizes potential misinformation about the work you are doing.
People are more open to supporting new ways of doing business when they understand why they are doing it and what is in it for them. Socializing these ideas will serve to build support for the change and can often minimize resistance.
2. What is going to happen? And How?
Once your people understand the “why,” it is equally important to cover the “what and how” surrounding the change event. Sharing schedules, responsibilities and expectations are all key components of building support and commitment for the program and often leads stakeholders to advocate for the project.
We have found that one of the most significant barriers to change is the fear of walking into the unknown. Let your stakeholders know how you’re defining success and how they will be involved in that success. What are you hoping to gain? And what are your expectations for your stakeholders?
3. What are the costs of not doing this?
This question often creates a eureka moment for some of our clients. You can’t only focus on how this will benefit your organization. In building support for your initiative, take the time to identify and calculate the costs associated with not doing the project.
Some projects will make you a better, more efficient company. Others will provide an opportunity to sunset expensive, outdated systems as well as the costs associated with maintaining the technology. You might be able to terminate service contracts that no longer provide value.
In short, you must weigh the negative aspects of inaction along with the positive benefits and drivers for the change. What will we able to do in the future based upon what we do today?
Creating Project Clarity
When you have a new initiative, are you working on a strong message about what is happening, why you are doing it and what you hope to gain? This type of clarity will help you gain support, identify potential resistance and enhance commitment to the project.
Building a solid case for change at the beginning of your program will lay the foundation for your stakeholders to become informed, inspired and committed to the success of the initiative.