Managers: Know your change events and track these

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When you are a manager, one of the things that you are responsible is the ongoing improvement of your team and how it operates.

Now, with that expectation set, are you tracking the “change events” that account for and assess this?

Change happens on a team and in a group all the time.  In fact, it happens so often that it is easy to lose track of all of the change that is happening.

Here are sample “change events” that could constitute change on your team:

  1. A new person or joins the team or someone leaves the team (or many people join or leave the team)
  2. A new budget is implemented
  3. Your organization or your team launches a strategy
  4. There is a process improvement or process change
  5. There is a change in scope of work
  6. A new project starts or an old project ends
  7. There is a new environment or element to the work environment (change in office space or new equipment)

Some of this change is instigated by the manager, and some of it is implemented by external events, either from above or by the passage of time.  It’s all change, and it needs to be understood as such.

So the first task of understanding change is to track these events.  If you don’t do it as a manager, perhaps someone on your team can track these events.  Having these change events documented and tracked creates a better understanding of what your team is handling.

So here are some suggesting things to track for your team change:

  1. Item number
  2. Source of change
  3. Change description
  4. Initial date of learning of change
  5. Expected positive impact
  6. Expected negative impact
  7. Who is responsible for delivering the change
  8. Who is involved
  9. Change plan location
  10. Change implementation / assessment date

Here’s what it may look like on a spreadsheet

Item Number Change description Source of change Initial Date of learning of change Expected positive impact Expected negative impact Who is responsible for delivering change Who is involved Change plan location Change implementation / assessment date
1 Marci leaves Marci 6/1/2011 Opportunity to identify emerging team needs and hire to it Lose Marci’s skill set Manager hiring Manager, HR, Team Members Hiring process site 7/1/2011 (replacement hired) 12/1/2011 (up to speed)
2 New quality assurance program Manager initiated 3/1/2010 (kick off of implementation) Improved quality Resistance/inertia of prior system, less efficiency Alex All team and partner teams Team site : projects 12/1/2011 (program implemented) 3/1/2011 (assess quality)

This tracker isn’t to be used to project-manage, but to people- and team-manage.  Once you see all of the change going on, the manager and the team can be more sympathetic on the hiccups, and focused on anticipating the challenges, identifying the challenges and resolving them.  You will be in better position to get the positive outcomes of the change.

The tracker also reveals what kinds of change and whether it is too much.

If there’s too much change, the team will likely lose its ability to deliver.  Too little change and the team is probably not delivering to its full potential.

Acknowledging the change that is occurring on the team will also help understand where the team is delivering, and whether it delivers during a time of “high change.”

It also provides a succinct view into what the positive opportunities the change provides, and the likely reveal what is lingering and unresolved, and what is focused and structured.

Have you ever seen a manager create or maintain a change log?  Could you see this as a tool that would help the team function better over time?  For the management designers out there, what kinds of structures do you have for managing change?

Related Articles:

Using perceptions to manage: How this undermines efforts for change

Are you asking a change agent to make a change, and then resisting the change?

What to do when someone on your team resists change (part 1)

What to do when someone on your team resists change (part 2)

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About Walter Oelwein
Walter Oelwein, CMC, CPT, helps managers become better at managing. To do this, he founded Business Performance Consulting, LLC .

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