What about when your change gets changed?

You were mid-flight — instituting a much needed change that was planned and in progress, when another initiative in the organization came along that overtook your effort. 

First — take a deep breath because this can be a very emotional scenario.  Instituting a change doesn’t come lightly.  If change happens at all, it’s because there are passionate and dedicated people who are committed to making it happen.

Second — figure out if what you were trying to do still makes sense within the future landscape that just got re-painted.  If it does, then this could actually be a good thing for your effort.  If what overtook you is broader, has better sponsorship, has more resources, etc. then see if your change team can become part of the larger team and work on a coordinated effort.

Third — if your change no longer makes sense, then you’ll need to dismantle your change team.  Pay special attention to your champions and change agents when you’re doing this.  Change is hard, and un-changing the change is also hard!  Make sure that the team is recognized for their contributions, even though they will not get to see the effort through to the end.

Fourth — if the new proposed change runs counter to what you are trying to achieve, and your goal is still valid, then it’s time to start advocating for what you see as a necessary future.  You may have an opportunity to influence the direction of the other effort so that you’re back in alignment.

Regardless of how this lands, communicate out to all of your stakeholders and the broader community so that everybody is clear about whether or not your effort still exists and what new shape it might have taken.

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