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Planning the change process (stages of an efficient problem solving method)

Category: Bank Management

Any change process is made of successive steps that should be followed carefully.

In a concrete fashion, to proceed by logical progression, any change project has to be broken down into phases. This requires the setting up of a framework (intellectual scheme but also spirit) that top and middle managers could use to analyse problems and to identify approaches for their solution.

For such a purpose, we have successfully used a seven step method:

State the problem: The most important phase may be the problem setting. As we often say « a well defined problem is half solved ». The link between the purposes and the overall strategies of the company must be explained. The hidden intentions have to be clearly stated.

Thus, the first thing to do is to identify, as clearly as possible, all the problems the bank is facing to:

— shortcomings and unsufficiencies, on one side,

— desirable outputs/improvements and objectives (expected results, in the future, as shown by anticipation).

The target is here to clarify what has to be changed and why (to reach which purpose) and what are the limits of the scope.

Often, it is here that the bank has to define the changes in its strategy (and activities), its organisation, its behaviours, its management system and/or its tools and equipments.

Look for and find the information needed to describe and understand the situation: then one has to gather information through intensive on-site analysis, to collect measurements, to be sure that the analysis is complete (i. e. that nothing has been forgotten).

Find out underlying root causes for the present unsuffiencies and construct models that explain how « things are going on ».

Come up with ideas for solutions: this is the intuition phase (partly unconscious) which is needed to discover innovative positive modifications.

Choose the solution to use: deciding accurately what has to be proposed, clearly presenting the modifications have to be implemented, listing sufficient and convincing arguments and negotiating to reach agreement of all concerned parties.

Prepare and carry out implementation of the solution: Enough means have to be obtained. The planning of the actions that have to be implemented has to be defined. The adaptation (and training) of the personnel has to be realised on time.

Follow up and control results, to ensure that the sought effects are achieved on time and within the forecasted budget.

One should follow such a scheme to ensure that the relevant change is implemented while minimizing the forgotten aspects and mistakes.

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