The Bottom Line of Organizational Change
by Dawn-Marie Turner, PhD
Successful Change Begins with a Destination
You know the importance of the bottom line when it comes to your organization’s financial viability — but what about when it comes to change… do you know your bottom line? Successfully implementing and sustaining change in an organization needs a bottom line – an “Intended Outcome Statement” is your change bottom line. John Maxwell in his book “Thinking for a Change” states “if you are only thinking about your bottom line as financial you may be missing opportunities critical to your organization.”
Your intended outcome describes where your change efforts will take the organization, and what it will look like when it gets there. It is critical for success — a beacon that points everyone in the right direction, and ensures your resources are being used wisely. Documenting and communicating a clearly stated, detailed intended outcome puts the goal of the change in focus for the organization and the individuals affected.
A useful intended outcome statement will:
1. State clearly and concisely the direction and purpose of the change
2. Motivate the individuals to move in the direction of the change
3. Orientate the leaders and affected individuals around a common goal
An intended outcome is powerful tool that can dramatically affect the success of change in your organization. Two of the most valuable benefits of a clear intended outcome statement are, first its ability to focus a team’s energy on the future. People will not move way from the current state unless they have something to move toward. Second your intended outcome statement will guide the activities, and decisions needed to realize successful, sustainable change.
Three questions to help get you started in defining an intended outcome for your organization:
- When your organization has successfully completed the transition how will it be different?
- When the organization has successfully made the transition to the new environment, what will be different about how the affected individuals do their work?
- What will your customers/clients say about the organization when the change has been successfully implemented and the transition is complete?
Once your intended outcome is documented, share it, as widely as needed, and give people time to internalize its meaning. As John Maxwell said, “if you want to be successful tomorrow you need to think intended outcome today.”