04Perhaps the most important season of all, spring is a busy time on the land.  Down at the farm we’re in full swing, preparing for new crops and the birth of new life.  Our first spring baby – an alpaca cria – arrived this week and dull paddocks are already assuming tinges of green.

The time is right for change.  As winter passed, paddocks were ploughed and weeded ready for sowing new summer pastures of rye grass and millet.  As we welcome spring rain (fingers crossed!) and sunshine, now is the best time for new crops to thrive.

Like most things in life, timing is everything for those on the land.  And in the 15 years I’ve spent implementing change in business, I’d say the same for any significant change initiative.  Yet how many times have you seen a project rushed through, cut short or implemented at the wrong time?  The result?  Anxiety, uncertainty, chaos and even failure.

We all know that change is inevitable, that it’s ever present.  And we need a certain amount of change to stay relevant and challenged in any environment.  But for most people, change is simply one big headache!

The good news is that – just like planting a new crop – there are a number of things you can do to increase your likelihood of implementing change successfully.  So before you begin your next project, ask yourself these 4 questions:

Are you ready for change?

1. Appetite – is the need for the change understood and agreed, and what benefit will it deliver?  It’s obvious on the farm that we need summer crops for food and to support the breeding cycles of our herds; but not every change is as “life and death” as this.
2. Resources – have you committed the right resources to ensure the change can be implemented effectively?  Have you got the right people, budget and tools on hand to do the job effectively and keep momentum going after the project team has packed up and moved on to the next job?
3. Timing – is it the right season to begin this change?  Are the current conditions going help or hinder success?  For example, can enough energy be directed at this program, or are there too many distractions or competing priorities.
4. Preparation – have you done enough groundwork so the change can take root and flourish?  This could include briefing staff, customers and other stakeholders on what to expect, and conducting appropriate training and skilling to support the new processes or procedures.

While answering these questions won’t guarantee the outcome you’re looking for, it will certainly increase your likelihood of success.  And remember, only when you sow the seeds can you reap the rewards.