ne of the most memorable YouTube videos I've seen is How Wolves Change Rivers .
With the reintroduction in 1995 of wolves into Yellowstone National Park, after a 70 year absence, Wyoming scientists found that aspen and cottonwood groves recovered. Not because wolves were killing all the elk, but because elk stopped grazing like domestic livestock. The ecosystem recovered and flourished.
The regeneration of the ecosystem was a pleasantly unexpected result. I often use this video when facilitating change management training, as it generates great discussion about situations where people have experienced unexpected results while implementing changes.
At times, a successful change management implementation may incur surprise outcomes, both positive and negative. This may be caused by a lack of awareness and or understanding of how the change might impact all relevant stakeholders. When all stakeholders are not considered, the results can be frustration and potentially damage.
Perhaps it is the frustrated warehouse manager, who tells you he has no idea how he is going to store the refrigerated stock you just ordered, as the warehouse fridge only has the capacity to store a fifth of what you ordered.
Perhaps it is the QC testing lab, who just received a delivery of 200 raw material samples - an increased workload of 200%. They have not planned for the extra workload and do not have the required resources to meet the testing deadline.
Perhaps it is the worker who arrived at work Monday morning. When she turned on her computer, key work files had been moved to a new server location and she wasn't notified.
One strategy I've seen work well to mitigate such situations, is to have an organisational change impact checklist with all the key stakeholders listed. It is easy to overlook a department when relying on your memory, but a visual checklist will ensure you consider all potentially affected stakeholders.
This may sounds like a simplistic solution to manage a complex project, however just having a checklist will ensure that prior to any changes occurring, all stakeholders are considered and consulted, to minimise any potential frustration with the change process.
An organisation is like an ecosystem, not dissimilar to Yellowstone National Park. The processes and systems that work in harmony one day can be affected the next, with even one change potentially leading to unexpected results and the generation of a new ecosystem.