Change Management using Flowcharts

“Your success in life isn’t based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers and business” – Mark Sanborn 

Rapid, deep, and sustained departures from legacy business processes and practices find coinage in a singularly specific expression: change. Modern organizations tend to undergo a variety of changes at multiple levels; these are variously termed as leadership changes, strategic changes, technology changes, and tactical changes. In response, change management has emerged as a mantra that helps global businesses to negotiate with and expand business activity in the face of commercial competition and evolving conditions in various markets.

According to the gurus of organizational thinking, change management denotes the “process, tools, and techniques to manage the people side of change to achieve required business outcomes. Change management (also) incorporates the organizational tools that can be utilized to help individuals make successful personal transitions resulting in the adoption and realization of change.” In this context, flowcharts represent a singular technique that allow enterprises of every hue to navigate the choppy waters of curating and managing transitions.

Flowcharts can serve as a location to store operational data and corporate experience as a prelude to initiating change management. Such an illustration could take the shape of twin silos that rise from a common baseline. The inter-connected stages in each silo could serve as a repository of the knowledge elements referred above. For instance, a business operator could stack sales data inside one silo and information that denotes successful legacy business initiatives inside the parallel structure. A close perusal of the resulting illustration allows the operator to prime the business for critical projects and initiatives that could be undertaken in the future. However, each silo must also emerge as a location for planned interventions etched into the expanse of the flowchart. These interventions, when closely calibrated, represent the operational and strategic aspects of change management in the conventional sense of the phrase. We note the flowchart remains the defining motif that encases transitions in the foregoing instance.

A re-appraisal of the tactics and techniques deployed in instances of legacy change management is necessary to spell successful transitions in the future. Detailed illustrations could help conduct such post mortem analyses. Each input and action that comprised past exercises in change management must be positioned inside a flowchart diagram with the intent to assess outcomes. The quality of manpower deployed, the level of thought that powered change in the past, the paradigms applied in such exercises, the various costs emanating from such actions, a strategic assessment of manifest outcomes, etc. must figure prominently in such an investigation. Ergo, such an illustration emerges as a case study of change management in modern times; therefore, business operators must seek lessons and extract insights that issue from a close perusal of said diagram. We note different enterprises may approach such an exercise with varying objectives in mind; however, the flowchart continues to excel as a tool of instruction in every instance.

Mission statements put forth by an enterprise represent bodies of text intended to broadcast commercial intent in the public domain. However, such statements, when encased inside a flowchart, help frame a motivational document designed for consumption by internal stakeholders of an enterprise. In line with this, a business operator could populate the various stages of a flowchart with text that points to the various aspects of modern change management. Such text could include initiatives to maximize the return on investment for various projects; speed up the pace of implementation of new initiatives; outline actions that ensure a continual stream of realization from value investments; an elucidation of renewed organizational goals; an outline of the anticipated benefits that flow from driving these aspects of change management, etc. In essence, such an illustration represents a call-to-arms for all operators at different levels of an organization. The flowchart therefore emerges as a roadmap that spotlights a range of distinct benefits that emerge from managing transition in multiple contexts. It also encourages an active and informed buy-in from every level of the sponsor organization.

An expansive, inter-connected illustration can help build and reinforce the business case for implementing change management within an enterprise. Business managers, analysts, and designers could join forces to construct a persuasive document that convinces stakeholders of the importance of undertaking such initiatives. The content positioned inside the various stages could include: problems and expenses arising out of gaps in established business processes; the real costs of not implementing recommended compliance measures; a lack of understanding the stated vision of a corporate organization and the costs thereof; the extremely high costs of re-working flawed processes; the critical requirement of eliminating avenues of waste inside business processes; the requirement to secure high levels of success in new initiatives, etc. These points can be expanded in a bid to build a flawless narrative that will power change management inside the organization in the future. Hence, the flowchart serves as the backdrop and vehicle that spotlights the key elements that validate such a high-level decision.

Risk elements inside a change management initiative must be clearly mapped to ensure success in organizational transitions. A flowchart designed for the purpose could take shape in the form of an octagonal diagram labelled with said elements. Financial risks; legal and regulatory hurdles; technology risks; potential threats to operational events; risks pertaining to human capital; strategic risks; supplier and vendor disruptions; and market risks could populate this illustration. The ensuing diagram allows business operators to survey extant risk elements and forge strategies to de-risk said elements. This aspect of change management is critical in that it allows the modern organization to steer clear of anticipated disruption and segue change with ongoing business operations. In addition, such a flowchart empowers an organization to absorb shocks and resolve elements of dissonance in the wider interests of sustained business performance.

The titans of modern business and the captains of industry must emerge as champions of change management as part of efforts to drive transitions. In support of this assertion, business operators could frame flowchart diagrams that outline actions to be undertaken at the top of the organization. Various actions could include steps related to pro-active management, one-on-one meetings with individual employees, the dissemination of important information pertaining to an ongoing transition, seeking feedback from various stakeholders, encouraging all levels of the organization to participate in change management procedures, managing instances of immediate disruption, etc. These actions, when positioned inside a flowchart, create a roadmap for business leaders that seek to institute new processes and systems of conducting business. In addition, designers could elect to create spaces inside the diagram to accommodate various outcomes that follow the implementation of each stage.

The net outcomes of the different ideas, techniques, and stratagems described above allow us to appreciate the use of flowcharts in change management systems and practices. A clear vision remains central to the design of such diagrams; such design must be complemented with additional information, thoughts, ideas, and inputs that qualify and validate the content of different stages built into each flowchart. Moreover, each strategy could benefit from the inclusion of external consultants that can help steer the multiple facets of a change management process. Intelligent business operators could also seek inputs from stakeholders in a bid to enrich said process and thereby gain deeper levels of participation from all concerned.

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