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Risks vs. Rewards

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Risks vs. Rewards

Lesson Content

Another crucial part of Change Management is to acknowledge that there are risks associated with what you are about to do. Ever heard the saying, No pain, no gain? Risk is scary and lurks in the area of the unknown as I described before. However, as with any change that we make in life, we go through the process of looking at the risks & rewards, or another way to say it, the pros and cons.

Really the question you need to ask yourself is, do the rewards/pros outweigh the risks/cons? You should write down both the risks and rewards and map out what potential collateral damage there might be.

As an example, consider a change initiative that includes the realignment of the reporting structure because the organization is growing quite rapidly, and so it no longer makes sense for the staff to directly report into the leadership team, thus you believe that it is time to create a level of middle management. You know that you could promote from within, but you suspect that you also might need to recruit from outside.

For this situation, the primary pro (i.e. reward), is that once the realignment occurs, the leadership team could focus on the strategic level issues, and not on the day-to-day issues.

The primary con (i.e. risk), is that the employees may feel as though they are getting a demotion because they are perhaps reporting into the CEO, whereas soon they will be reporting into a Manager. Also, I will mention something else that you might want to consider; because this realignment opens up opportunities for promotion to Manager this will be seen as a positive by some, however, by others, who do not get promoted and perhaps will be managed by their once-peer, this may lead to feelings of resentment and a strained reporting relationship between the two.

Weighing pros and cons or risks and rewards is key to the preparation and the planning process, you should not move forward with any change initiative without doing this analyzation first. I want to briefly introduce the concept of Force Field Analysis, and here is a visual for you.

On the left-hand side, you have the driving forces, also known as the pros or rewards. On the right-hand side, you have the restraining forces, also known as the cons or risks. In the middle, are the changes. This particular example relates to the implementation of a new software system. They are four green arrows on the left, and three red arrows on the right so for this the pros outweigh the cons. Now this is a simplistic example to give you an idea, however, your force field analysis may be more in-depth depending on the complexity of the change.

Hayley Buonopane


Hayley Buonopane

With nearly two decades in the Human Resources field, Hayley is a subject matter expert with a specialty in workplace planning and development, employee relations, organizational development, and talent acquisition....

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