Planning for a Major Change Initiative

For a major change initiative to succeed, it’s vital that the planning for it addresses key strategic, leadership and operational issues. Learn important key questions to consider when planning a major change initiative.


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Note:   This post provides a list of questions that need to be considered when planning a major change initiative. For assistance in developing a plan based on these and other questions unique to your organization, contact KAW Consulting directly.

Introduction:  For a major change initiative to succeed, it’s vital that the planning for it addresses key strategic, leadership and operational issues.  Projects that fail often don’t sufficiently address these areas and find that they didn’t have a broad enough definition of the project’s scope, didn’t include all the necessary activities, or have the needed resources to make the initiative a success.

Following is a list of questions to ask when developing the strategy for a major change initiative to help ensure your plan addresses the needed areas.  


  • Is there a clear Vision for the initiative that clearly states why it’s being done, the reasons why it’s critical for the organization’s continued success, the benefit of doing it, and the probable impact of it on the organization?

  • Can the Highest Executive in the organization clearly explain this?

  • Is the definition of the initiative’s scope broad enough to encompass what really needs to be done?

Example: Does the initiative require a re-examination and redesign of existing business processes as well as integration of new technology? Will there be major impacts on staffing, relationships between departments, need for better teamwork, etc. as a result of the initiative?

  • Does each member of Executive Leadership have a clear understanding of the initiative’s purpose, strategic intent and true impact on their segment of the organization, and their role in making this a success? Many times this is only vaguely understood and the result is a lack of communication down the line that this effort is “critical” and the needed attention be paid to it as one of the “key things we’re working on”.

  • Is this initiative’s success reflected in key organization strategic goals and performance criteria at the executive level?

  • Are the initiative’s resource requirements understood and included in the organization’s capital and operating expense budgets?

  • Is the status of the initiative included in the organization’s key monitoring systems that evaluate progress against key strategic goals?


  • Who has overall responsibility for implementation of this initiative? Is this clearly communicated and understood by the organization’s Executive and Senior Leadership?

  • Does this responsibility cover all the needed areas such as business impact identification and process redesign, user training, system implementation and adoption planning versus just system development and testing?

  • Does the initiative have a Leadership Team composed of representatives from impacted departments/stakeholder areas with responsibility and accountability for successful implementation in their Department?

  • Do these Departmental representatives clearly understand their roles and responsibilities? Is the success of this initiative a key part of their performance criteria?

  • Do the Departmental representatives have enough organizational authority to ensure the initiative gets the needed attention in their department/area?

  • Do the various Departments and Stakeholders have this initiative and its success as one of their key performance goals? Are the necessary resources included in their Departmental operating budgets?


  • Does the initiative’s overall project plan include all the major activity areas such as business impact analysis, process redesign evaluation, staffing and culture change needs, communications, implementation planning, user training, etc. versus just system design, testing and implementation?

  • Key Question to Answer: What are the areas someone might say “This is clearly a major area we overlooked in our planning…” if the project failed. These are all activity areas that need to be in your plan.

Example: Departments did not really understand the impact on their operations and proactively get ready for it, and experienced substantial difficulties once new technology started up. When looking at the initiative’s overall plan after the fact, it didn’t include enough attention to departmental business impact analysis as a major phase.

How to Stop Having Bad Meetings

70% of employees feel the meetings they attend aren’t productive. Learn how to design and run meetings that work.

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People spend a lot of time at work in meetings.  And according to surveys, 70% of employees feel that the meetings they attend aren’t productive—in short a waste of time.

If you’re one of the majority that feels this way, this comes as no surprise.  You know the feelings of frustration all too well.  As well as the financial cost.  If  4 people each earning $40,000 a year attend a 2 hour meeting that goes nowhere, that’s a cost of $152  of wasted time just for that meeting.  Not to mention the incidental costs such as travel. Take those costs and multiply by the number of meetings you feel are a waste of time over a year and you are getting some real money.  In this day and age when organizations are facing enormous budget constraints, and are  looking hard at all their cost elements, improving meeting quality jumps out as a “no brainer”.

Yet there is often little analysis of why meetings fail, or what needs to happen so they succeed. Here are some of the common reasons things go wrong that you can measure against your own experience.

●    Meeting leader is unprepared and tries to “wing it”

●    There’s no formal agenda

●    Everyone disagrees on the meeting’s subject

●    The expected desired results are not defined

●    People critical to meeting’s success:

–     Don’t Show Up

–     Weren’t Invited

–     Come late or leave early

●    Participants don’t understand their roles

●    Unfocussed discussion

●    Results are not accurately recorded.

●   Other reasons that you’ve experienced

On the other hand, meetings that work usually contain the following elements.

●    Meeting is well designed:

–  Has a purpose statement with agreed upon meeting subject and desired results

– Has an agenda that clearly specifies topics for discussion, timing, participant expectations, etc.

        –  Provides participants with needed background information

–  Determines needed pre-work by participants.

–  Uses effective group discussion processes such as brainstorming, problem solving, decision making, etc.

        –  Determines needed meeting logistics

●    Meeting starts and ends on time

●    Meeting Leader is prepared

●    The critical people are in attendance

●    Participants understand their roles and participate appropriately

●    The meeting’s discussion focuses on the topics at hand

●    Pertinent discussion and results are captured and used going forward as needed.

Because holding better meetings is so important, KAW Consulting developed “Meetings That Work”, an electronic handbook that shows you step by step how to design and run effective meetings.   Written in a clear, easy to use format you’ll learn:

  • What makes meetings succeed, and why many fail
  • The crucial roles that need to be filled in each meeting
  • The 8 Steps for designing Effective Meetings
  • Tips for Running an Effective Meeting
  • How to deal with potential problems you may encounter such as:

                  – Stares and Silence

                  – Negative Remarks

                  – Separate Agendas

                  – One person trying to dominate the discussion

  • How to use effective group discussion processes to:

–  Generate Ideas by Brainstorming

–  Solve Problems

–  Make Better Decisions

–  Plan Tasks

–  Set Goals

What’s more, because it’s an electronic book in PDF format, you can store it on your computer so you have it accessible each time you need to design a meeting!  We’ve even included hyperlinks so you can jump right to the page or section you need without having to spend time scrolling through unneeded pages.

You can buy single copies for the low price of $21.95.

Sharing with additional users is also easy–just purchase additional licenses at $19.95 per user.

To view a sample and instructions on how to purchase online click here.

Note: Available to U.S. purchasers only.