4Matt of Change

If you are responsible for implementing change at work, regardless of scale, there are four key things you need to be able to answer for the people affected by change.

  1. Why is the change happening
  2. What is the change
  3. How will the change be implemented
  4. What are the potential rub points (what if)

1. Why

There are people in this world that like to know the why! They ask questions like”why do we need to change”, or say things like “yeah, but why”. The why person needs the why up front, if you don’t mention why the change is happening and you go right into how you want them to change, it is entirely probable that they will not even hear you, until they know why.

2. What

The what person is looking for the evidence, the details, the background and any other information that describes what is changing and how that decision has been made. Though they may not overly focus on the why, they will not listen to how the change will happen, if they believe you have not sufficiently described what is changing and the background behind it.

3. How

The how person is the one waiting to be told how to implement the change. What do they need to do, what action do they need to take. They mostly don’t care about the why and the what, they are waiting for the how. 

4. What if

The what if person is thinking about all the things that could go wrong, they are thinking about the other ways you could implement the change, they are thinking about how it could be done better. The what if person wants an opportunity to talk about all of those things and will be able to point out where there could be issues. The what if person may show some interest in the why, what and how, but to keep them on board you will need to give them a chance to be heard.

What does all of this mean? When thinking about implementing a change you will want to be able to answer the why, what, how and what if. Then, when it’s time to as people to change you have the perfect template to communicate with.

You might say something like the following if you were responsible for changing how staff are rostered:

“There are changes happening to the roster. 

The reason why this change is happening is to provide an opportunity for new team members to work at busy times for the store.

What has has happened in the past is new members have been rostered on in the quiet periods, providing time for training, but not exposing them to enough customers. As a result, the area manager and my self decided to change the roster to have one experiences member on, on Saturdays, with two new team members. 

How this will work for the next few months is, I will need all experienced members to give up two Saturday’s per month. These shifts will go to the new team members. 

What’s the rub? For the next few months some team members will miss out on Saturday shifts. To try and bridge the loss in pay, we would like to offer an extra hour of work for each team member that has given up a Saturday shift. Though this won’t cover the losses time, we hope the shortening in training times will have an overall improvement to the team. Once training is complete, we plan to return back to the standard rostering process.

Are there any questions or issues people would like to raise?”

Though this example is highly specific to a retail scenario, the theme of what, what, how and what if should be clear.

If you have any questions on how to come up with your own 4matt of change, comment below or join in on the conversation in the Facebook group ‘PDBOK‘.

Rock and Roll


P.S. What’s the one thing you don’t do, that would cause the most positive change in your life?

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