Your Change Horizon is more than a wish list and less than a day-by-day project plan for change. Your Change Horizon combines actions, planning, goals, and direction to describe and define your organization’s future. Your Change Horizon begins with an understanding of your organization’s current state, includes a willingness to work through the changes you cannot predict and it never ends.
Your Change Horizon is time based so as long as time does not end your change horizon will not end either. Consider the word horizon and its’ distance associations. As you approach any horizon a new one appears to take its place. Much like change, the horizon is always leading your organization to new destinations. As a leader, it is your job to prepare your organization to benefit from the new horizon, the new change, the lucky break, etc.
To know where you are on your change horizon you need a map, a reference, a guide. Because every organization is different, there are no fixed or predefined change horizon maps, at least none that you should rigidly adhere to. There are however, some general thinking and acting guidelines that will help you create a change horizon reference. Given that horizons are time based, your reference should be too.
Your Change Horizon map includes current change actions that end in less than one year (Action). Related or directly connected to your current actions are next phase (Phase) actions that will begin 12 or more months from today. These are not new changes but extensions and next steps that build on your current change actions. Your new change ideas, those you will be ready for 2 to 4 years from today are alignment (Alignment) focused to benefit from the change actions you will complete in the coming 1 to 23 months.
The final component of your change horizon map is directional (Direction) and is not focused, it is vision or image based, it is non-specific, it is the picture, not the 1,000 words that fail to describe the picture. Moreover, as your horizon reference point changes (as time progresses) the vision will change. This changing vision often creates fear of regret and causes leaders to avoid the vision, the mapping, and the thinking required to create a change horizon map. Unfortunately, those who do not act are acted upon. Fortunately, the change horizon map includes an appropriate buffer to reduce fear and connect Direction to Action through the Alignment and Phase mechanisms.
Your change horizon map begins with Direction, filters through Alignment, divides into Phases, all to define and describe the Actions required for your organization to benefit from change. With a segmented timeline (current, 12 or more months, less than 4 years, and 5 or more years) there are nearly unlimited opportunities for your vision to transform into a vision that benefits your organization. But, you need a reference. You need a Change Horizon Map to know where your organization is and where it is going.
©2014 Margins and Corners