Change Leadership Secret – 89 – Plan Ahead, But Deliver Version 1.0

Change Leadership — Secret # 89
Plan Ahead, But Deliver Version 1.0

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
—Albert Einstein

What I Need to Know

People seem always to have “champagne tastes and beer budgets.” They always want more than they are prepared to pay for. That’s why we need to have “Version 1.0” in change leadership. “Version 1.0” is the set of the most important features and scope that are achievable as a first phase of the change. The other changes will have to wait until the next phase of the change process—they’ll have to be “Version 2.0” changes.

One of the most common and fatal mistakes made by enthusiastic clients and change leaders is taking their attention off Version 1.0.

Once people buy into the vision of change, they want it all—not just what is in the first phase. So
managers focus their attention on Version 2.0. This is a fatal mistake. Version 2.0 never comes. It never comes because the managers do not allow Version 1.0 to be completed. It’s like a baseball batter focusing on the next pitch—the ball that hasn’t been thrown yet—instead of the ball that is coming at him right now. Version 2.0 is nothing more than a dream, or a fantasy, until Version 1.0 becomes a reality.

A great change leader must emulate the intense concentration of great athletes like Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, and Cortez Kennedy. They get Version 2.0 accomplished, all right. In fact, they deliver Version 10.0—eventually. But the way they get there is by putting their full attention on the task at hand.

What I Need to Do

The only way to deal with scarce resources is to reduce the scope of the change. You can do this by breaking large change initiatives into multiple, achievable phases that deliver acceptable results along the way.

Then, as you are actuating the change, maintain the promise of Version 2.0 and future phases, but focus 100 percent of the client’s energy on Version 1.0.

To maintain this focus is easier said than done because the client will put a lot of pressure on the change leader to deliver Version 2.0. This is another opportunity for you to demonstrate the discipline of high quality and high value—by remaining committed to the realities of the scope, schedule, and resource constraints and to the successful completion of Version 1.0—before entertaining discussions of Version 2.0.

Action Summary

  • Break large initiatives into multiple, achievable phases.
  • Plan all phases, but focus 100 percent of attention on the present phase.
  • Maintain the vision and promise of future phases, but make sure each phase delivers value of its own.
Change Leadership Secret - 89 Plan Ahead, But Deliver Version 1.0

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