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Changing Your Organization for the Better Part 4: The Roadmap of Change

Part 4: The Roadmap of Change

In Part 3 we discussed the Goal Achievement Model in detail and clearly showed how it links the vision, goals, initiatives and activities in a very focused manner. However there still is one other part to the puzzle. This is what is referred to as the Roadmap of Change. The Roadmap is the tool to align change efforts within the organization, to eliminate conflicting goals, and to keep the change process on track. It is the final part of a process that begins with establishing the vision, developing higher level details with the Goal Achievement Model, and maintaining focus and clarity with the Roadmap. A successful change effort can not succeed without all three of these pieces being properly put into place and correctly used.

It is important to ensure alignment of the goals from all of the participating groups at a plant site. This understanding takes them beyond their own boundaries to a more global awareness of what the organization is trying to achieve and how their component fits into the bigger picture. Part of this process requires that you make sure that the goals of each group support those of the other groups at the site. A good set of independent goals will lose their value if they disable goals of other groups.

Next we need to make sure that the initiatives support the goals, but not just the goals of the group that created them. We must include the goals of all groups. Otherwise, we risk the danger of conflict and non-alignment.

Because each initiative has activities associated with it, let's look at this relationship more closely and see how they impact the goals. To do this we need to start at the Activity level. Activities have two main components. The first are the outcomes associated with each activity. The second is the timing of the activity from its beginning to its completion.

Outcomes. Everything you do has one or more outcomes that affect you and those around you. These outcomes are the results of executing a given activity. If you have planned and executed your work well, these outcomes will either directly or indirectly enable your activities and associated initiatives to be accomplished. In turn the initiatives affect the goals. Therefore activity outcomes influence goal outcomes. They also enable other indirect events to take place. Initially you may be thinking only about the work you are doing. However, your activity outcomes can enable other groups to accomplish their work as well. That's the positive side. On the negative side, some disabling outcomes can cause failure in not only own initiatives and goals but also the initiatives and goals of others. These enabling and disabling activities can determine success of any process. Figure 1 shows how these outcomes impact you and others.

Figure 1

Figure 1

In Figure 1, the y-axis looks at the outcomes from your work and how they affect you. They either enable you to succeed, or disable your efforts causing them to fail. But you need to look farther than that when you think about outcomes. What about how they impact the ability of other groups to accomplish their work efforts? That is the x-axis of the diagram.

Quadrant 1 - The outcomes are disabling to you and others. If outcomes are placing you in this quadrant, stop what you are doing and re-think the activity. It is bad enough that you are hurting others, but your own efforts are being negatively impacted as well. This quadrant is not where you want to be.

Quadrant 2 - In this quadrant your outcomes support the
work of others, but they don't support yours. You need to evaluate what you are doing and find out why this is happening.

Quadrant 3 - Here your outcomes support your work efforts, but disable those of others. This problem can be overcome through some in-depth discussion with the other groups so that you can modify the activity and have outcomes that support you both.

Quadrant 4 - This is where you want to be. Your activities are set up in such a way that the outcomes support not only your efforts, but also the efforts of the other departments or groups.

Timing. Timing is the second component to consider. Suppose one of your goals is to improve how work is executed in the plant. Flowing from this goal is an initiative to assemble a group to conduct a detailed work process redesign. Continuing along the Goal Achievement Model is an activity of gathering the pertinent data that will support the need for a redesign effort. If the team is going to meet next Monday, this activity has a time constraint. It is unacceptable to deliver the data in three weeks; you will have missed the deadline. Timing plays a very important role in the outcomes of activities.

As with outcomes, timing can positively or negatively impact not only your initiatives and outcomes, but also those of other departments and groups in your company. When timing is an enabling factor, there is no negative impact. It is when the timing of what you are doing is out of alignment with your activities or those of others that you need to address how you can correct and eliminate the problem. Timing is often more difficult to address. Most efforts have timetables that include steps that are either sequential or parallel as well as steps that are either dependent or independent of others. These factors add a high degree of complexity. Nevertheless, you must address these timing and alignment issues.

The Roadmap. Now that we have talked about outcomes and timing, we can focus specifically on the Roadmap. The Roadmap is a concept. It requires that you look at the outcomes of the activity part of the Goal Achievement Model and assess what happens when the activities are accomplished. Thinking in this fashion will help you identify the impact, positive, negative, or neutral, that these outcomes will have on you or on others. You will also be able to identify whether or not any negative impacts are based on results or timing. Doing this analysis will also permit you to identify corrective actions needed to remove the negative impacts from all concerned. The reason that I refer to it as a roadmap is that just like a roadmap, this process is designed to get you safely from where you are to where you want to be.
This concludes part 4 of 5 of "Changing Your Organization for the Better". Part 5 will address concept of measurement.

Portions of this article were extracted from "Successfully Managing Change in Organizations: A Users Guide" by Stephen J. Thomas with permission from the publisher, Industrial Press, Inc.

For more information about the book use the hyperlink provided to go to the Industrial Press web site - or visit the author's web site -

For more information about consulting and training related to this material contact MRG Inc. Use the hyperlink provided to go to their web site.

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