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Change is An Optimistic Behavoir

Your team congregates to storyboard a proposed rollout or to blueprint a new path. Will their forecast succeed? Too often project teams become so immersed in their work that they drink the proverbial Kool-Aid-forgetting to expect the best, but to plan for the worst.

Invite the Devil to Dinner

Veteran leaders of successful change initiatives know that to accurately design any change, one must "invite the devil to dinner" or at least into the conference room. It may not seem a prudent investment of time and energy to conjure up disaster scenarios-and one hopes to never need the contingencies accompanying worst case planning. But, if the rollout delivers a surprise or if next quarter the volume and/or level of transactions vital to corporate goals triples, the results of your speculation will be tangible.

An innovative process might just squeak by without pressure or strain on the system. However, in general, processes that are either mission critical or an integral part of current tactical goals must function effectively under stress.

One company I know takes the team offsite for a day of nightmare scenario planning before rollout. They make it a contest to discover the most likely and unlikely disasters possible during rollout. The contingency plans for each are duly documented and then ritually sealed in a binder with bright red tape. The message is "We hope to never break the seal, but we are glad to have the plans if we need them."

The Bottom Line

To improve your odds, survive rollout, and assure your robust new course of action succeeds, counterbalance a divine vision for the future with a devil-in-the-details plan.

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