Brainstorm the full impact of change before you implement it, with the help of the Impact Analysis technique.
When leaders don't think through the consequences of change, the results can be pretty disastrous.
This is why Impact Analysis is so useful. It gets you to focus on unexpected, often negative side effects of your decision. You can then put contingency plans in place to deal with potential problems before they arise.
There are five steps to conducting an effective Impact Analysis.
First, you need to prepare. As part of this, gather a good team of people, with access to all of the information you'll need about the proposed change.
Next, you need to brainstorm the major high-level areas impacted by the proposed change, such as departments, strategy, customer groups, and business processes.
The third step is to look deeper at what will be affected in each of the high-level areas you identified. For instance, if you know that the change will impact several departments, list them.
It can be easy to get bogged down in micro-detail here, so do what you can in the time you have available.
Now you will have a list of everything and everyone who will be affected by the change. The next stage is to identify the positive and negative impact for each of them. What will be the biggest benefits of this change? What are the issues? Clearly, your analysis will be much better if you talk to people in key areas to get their views.
Once you have a clearer picture of the effects, it's time to take action. So your last step is to manage the negative consequences.
Look at everything you just mapped out and think about how you'll deal with any problems. For example, how will you prepare the people affected by the change so they'll support it? You may even want to consider whether you should still implement the change. Is it worth continuing?
Impact Analysis helps you spot and deal with potential problems before you make a change. You can find out more about this tool in the article that accompanies this video.