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What if things go completely wrong this year?

Last week we definitively closed 2023 with each other...

Now we look back on what we have achieved. We give the year a label and move on. Often not even really based on the given label. We try to change this, but the results don't change by intentions (alone).

That is not meant to be cynical, but the patterns that brought us to that result are usually still present. Those patterns steer us in the same direction. Unless something happens in the environment or we place a careful change intervention.

One of the ways to do a change intervention is to start with a pre-mortem. Unlike the post-mortem, the technique where you investigate why something went wrong afterwards, you do this beforehand. You consciously focus with your team on the following question:

Suppose that one year from now, we look back on the last months and conclude that it has been one big drama. Everything we had planned has failed. What were the main reasons for this?

Write down all the reasons the coming year are going to go wrong. That often starts a bit stiff, but soon you see that teams get the hang of it. At that point the atmosphere can change a bit, but a quick reminder solutions will follow after this discussion usually helps.

After writing everything down, you look at the list together. Discuss how that feels. The next step is to cluster the reasons and put them in an order of probability. Now start working on solutions to these problems. Some solutions are preventive (how do we prevent this from happening?) some solutions are curative (what do we do if this happens?). This forms a good basis for designing a number of change interventions.

Good luck on your intervention and because this is the first email of the year, the best wishes for 2024!


Want to know more about what we have learned about increasing employee resilience? One of the most highly valued learning modules from our transformation programs is directing the employee experience.  Interested? Feel free to send us a message!


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