When developing a transition plan, it’s important to follow the eight “Ps.” Each represents a required step to manage change on your dairy.

The first four “Ps”

  • Purpose. During this step you will define the type of change you want to implement and the expected outcome.
  • Picture. Next, you should paint a picture of how the outcome will look and feel. This helps everyone understand how the change will impact their job responsibilities and allows team members to commit to making that change.
  • Plan. Create a roadmap of where you want to go. It should be a step-by-step plan for adopting or phasing in the desired outcome.
  • Participation. Identify what role every member of the transition team will play. Define each member’s responsibilities, how performance can be maximized, and what checkpoints will be used to evaluate performance.

Once you have completed these first four “Ps,” it’s important to gain everyone’s commitment. I like to use a “thumb” voting process. “Thumbs up” indicates commitment, while “thumbs down” is no commitment, and “thumbs sideways” indicates a need for more discussion and understanding before the team member can commit. Ask each team member individually for his or her vote.

In last month’s column, I discussed the difference between “change leaders,” “change navigators,” “change sympathizers,” and “change resistors.” The “thumb” voting process will help identify who fits into each category.

The second four “Ps”

Once everyone has committed to the change, you are ready to move forward into the execution stage — and four more “Ps.”

  • Process. Using the step-by-step plan you already created, team members will now “walk through” the transition plan. During this time, you will discuss if any steps need to be modified or responsibilities shifted. This is a great exercise to gain stronger commitment and ensure success.
  • Practice. During this step, team members repeatedly walk through the process to clarify roles and responsibilities. This allows team members to develop a comfort level as to how results will be achieved. It also helps to point out any weak links in the transition plan and what contingency plans should be considered.
  • Patience. Allow enough time to practice the plan and work any “bugs” out of the system. The change leader must allow time for team members to become comfortable with their newly defined roles and responsibilities before pushing forward. Applaud those team members who execute their roles correctly, and use gentle correction for those who don’t execute according to plan.
  • Performance. Measure results to determine if the change is delivering the desired outcome. Measurement, as well as feedback, at both the individual and team level is important. It is during this time that you also should look for ways to improve future transitions.

Putting it all together
Good communication and feedback should underlie each of the steps. Otherwise, team members can get left behind — or certain team members may try to sabotage your efforts.

Once your transition team has successfully implemented a change, don’t forget to celebrate the success.  Recognition is a very important component of managing transition — yet, it is the one most often forgotten.

Monte Hemenover is a dairy industry consultant and president of Avenues For Change, St. Louis, Mo.