A practical framework for change – head, hearts, hands & feet

The late Stephen Covey always reminded us that “the main thing was to keep the main thing the main thing !” However when you think about “Change Management” you could be excused for thinking its all about detailed road maps and large tomes of procedures and checklists. These are all important but sometimes they can also sadly distract from the whole point of the exercise. To stop you falling into this trap I offer you my easy to remember 4 point mental checklist based on the human body to help you constantly check that you have not been “detail distracted”!

Is there a compelling reason for change – merely a good reason for change is not enough? The term “burning platform” comes to mind. By not changing you must be exposing your enterprise to a major threat or walking away from a major opportunity.
There must be a sound economic reason for change which can be succinctly and clearly articulated and accepted by the leaders of the enterprise.

Heart is all about the “appetite” for change in the key leaders. I have seen so many change initiatives with great HEAD flounder because the key leaders did not want it enough or thought that a compelling reason was somehow enough. Unlike HEAD, HEART is an on-going challenge – you need to establish it in the first place and then keep it alive until the change is truly bedded in.
So how you establish it? The first step is through frank 1:1 conversations to establish the individual appetite of the key leaders. This needs to be done sensitively as the objective is not to sign them all up but to find out where they really are!

If you have the HEAD and the HEART then you need the How and the Who This is where the HANDS and FEET come in. HANDs concerns how the change will be brought about. In a nutshell HANDS is about the plan for the new processes, systems, incentives, practices, success measures and required behavior changes. Does the plan or proposed plan cover all the bases? Is the work already done an adequate basis for change or will it need reworked or binned?
Finally the FEET, or HEELS if you simply must have alliteration, represents the feet on the ground to project manage the change. I have never yet seen a change successfully delivered without a competent project manager working to a public and serious deadline the achievement of which is linked to their personal performance review/remuneration and with adequate personal time and access to additional resources as required to make it happen.

So to ensure you don’t forget the whole point of change management as you wade through the detail just remember your own body and your 4 vital organs/limbs – HEAD, HEART, HANDS and FEET!
The key principles and practices of Change Management need to be practiced in a safe environment – a great way to do this is playing a change management simulation game with your colleagues.