Doug Berg is today’s guest blogger.

Change doesn’t always go as planned. Okay, that much is obvious from almost anyone’s experience on the topic. There are always unexpected obstacles, twists, and turns as change develops. Change leaders generally expect things to go mostly as imagined from the outset. That is, on-time, on budget, and all objectives achieved. The reality is likely different.

I’ve learned it’s wise not to be too quick to label the effort as a ”Success,” or not. Why? Because positive, enduring change is always a journey, not a single destination, or a single project.

An enterprise can pick up skills in delivering successful change. This comes from cultivating the lessons learned from its projects. It helps the firm accelerate its cycles of change, the smoothness of its project experiences, and its magnitude of positive impacts. Attention to this broader view of the capability for change can move the company on its learning curve to a culture that increasingly helps assure strong outcomes.

Harvest your firm’s experiences

Let’s consider some examples. As projects unfold or reach conclusion, take the time to reflect on what led to success (or frustration). Then bake (or counter) these learnings into the plan for the next project. Do this regardless of who is assigned to lead the next one. In other words, document what you learned. Share this knowledge in a way that the next group can be informed of what you’ve already learned. Some firms create a Center of Excellence to help shepherd this handoff from project to project.

• Which factors led to success?
• Which factors distracted the pace, the energy, the timeliness?
• Which Communications actions worked? Didn’t?
• How effective was training?
• Was collaboration effectively enabled?
• Were dedicated team members used, or borrowed part-time from their daily work?
• Was the Roadmap and Project Plan detailed effectively?

The answers may range all over a spectrum, from ”poor” to ”great.”. The point is to identify in enough detail what helped and what hurt the effort. Pass it forward. Equip the next team to be mindful of what you learned. By formally, and iteratively, curating the change management experiences from past projects, the future projects are likely to have more profound outcomes.

A “culture of learning” will emerge as the skills are developed across the organization. This enables faster and more effective change. Believe that this exciting future starts with you and your current project.


Doug is an experienced financial executive that helps deliver positive change throughout organizations. He is passionate about achieving continuous improvement in ways that benefit employees, customers, and shareholders.

Doug Berg

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