Organizational Change Potential – A Realistic Workplan

Organizational Change Potential – A Realistic Workplan

Part 5 of 5: Continued from a Previous post

There are four common areas to address when preparing to implement change in your organization:

  1. Pressure for Change
  2. A Shared Vision
  3. A Capacity to Translate to Execution
  4. A Realistic Workplan

Let’s talk about a Realistic Workplan.

What does a Realistic Workplan mean?

From the book – A Beautiful Constraint (Source: &Strategy – adapted by Michael Hay):

We need to have mapped out the practical steps it will take, with realistic expectations in terms of timing and outcomes.

A realistic project plan is the backbone of any project. To ensure successful delivery, the plan must represent all other elements – pressure for change, a shared vision, and the capacity to deliver the strategy. In addition, the plan maps the cadence of events and resource requirements during each stage. Finally, the work plan should be flexible enough to adjust as project components shift during implementation. For example, the plan should consider the loss of a champion or critical executive sponsor.

Why is a Realistic Workplan significant?

A realistic project plan should accurately reflect all other elements.

Pressure for Change

The project plan should balance the need to see change with a realistic way of achieving that change. There will be moments where that pressure will be critical during the project. Often, during the heaviest, most labor-intensive parts of the project – a reminder of Executive support helps drive end-users to overcome their anxiety.

Shared Vision

The vision should heavily drive the plan. A continuous focus on scope and deliverables should be embedded in the plan. Whether dealing with multiple silos at an organization or one political team, revisiting the vision is the only way to maintain a realistic pace for the project while driving towards the common goal.

A Capacity to Translate to Execution

The plan should encompass the right resources needed to execute it. When building the plan, it is vital to consider the team (and a mitigation strategy should anything change). One cannot happen without the other.


Once a plan has been influenced by all other areas – for it to be realistic – it needs to be flexible as the plan gets executed. There are always unknowns that occur during implementation, and the key to keeping the plan realistic is the thoughtful consideration of those unknowns. For example, re-organizations, Champion and Executive sponsor changes, technology challenges, and many other scenarios happen during implementation. Success for the plan is entirely based on how flexible the plan can accommodate these changes. A plan cannot be considered realistic if it does not reflect the current state regarding resources, timelines, deliverables, and cost.

What happens when you don’t have it?

An unrealistic project plan could mean anything from complete failure to “Great Hype/No results.” While the plan encompasses all other elements for success, it is the plan that defines the execution during an implementation – therefore, it gets all the blame when something goes wrong.

In the end, a realistic plan must incorporate all other elements for success. It must consider pressure for change, the shared vision, and the ability to execute successfully. It has to be flexible during its execution of it to accommodate changes. Without flexibility, you’ll have something without that, but there may not be anyone to support its success.

Without the influence of a shared vision, capacity, or executive pressure – you might as well use a project plan you pulled off the internet.

Supporting Music

Shake it Out by Florence and the Machine

California Stars by Wilco and Billy Bragg

Wisdom by Brian Jonestown Massacre

Note: Originally posted March 13, 2018

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