Featured image by Tyler Franta from Unsplash
As a business owner, you are well aware of the need for effective status reports when dealing with planned changes. However, what can you do when the change is unplanned? Emergent change is sudden. When experiencing emergent change, it’s highly unlikely you will have the time to carry out the same complete planning process. You may not report in the same detail either, which is why it’s important to adapt your status reports.
Plan for the Unplanned
Cover all areas in advance to make the process during an emergent change smoother. Do you carry out most changes regarding your status reports on the fly, with minimal retrospective thinking, reflection, or records? If so, you are making not only your life more difficult, but also that of your seniors and juniors.
You will not have the same level of detail or specifics. Unfortunately, you won’t have time to comprehend the who, what, when or how in advance. However, it’s certainly possible to create a base plan to refer to. It can be a guide to ensure you do not miss a key area of thought while under pressure.
In fact, a well thought out process or checklist for when unplanned change arises will help avoid panic. If your team understands your base plan to follow during change, you will create a feeling of security and trust. So, even if the change is unplanned, the security of a reasoned approach to status reporting is there, thus the flexibility to deal with such change should follow.
Facing the Reality
Create an environment where any form of change is welcome, not seen as something to fear. If your company has strong core values and strong ethic that employees know is at the heart of the business, they will learn any status report change process easily. The staff will trust your company is doing its best. You’ll also avoid dealing with employee hesitance, allowing you to manage the change more quickly.
By creating this environment you are supporting people through change. Encourage staff to be versatile, adaptable, and to communicate effectively when they are faced with the pressure of change. This ensures you’re efficiently prepared to deal with emergent change you’ll inevitably have to overcome. Communication skills development is important to ensure everyone is aware of the best ways for expression, without railroading or creating negativity.
If your emergent change is the result of an unforeseen event during a planned change, you will need to ensure you communicate effectively to all those concerned and document all impact on the project.
When emergent change occurs outside of a change management project, you need to consider the effect of the change. It’s likely a large portion of your status reporting will be after the event. If you follow your basic plan for dealing with change, notify anyone directly involved and then do what’s necessary to handle the change.
As a matter of good practice, you should ensure you create a reflective account of why the business’s change was necessary. Document what you did to make it happen and what the outcome was. You can use what you learned from this situation to inform your team about planning for the unplanned in the future.