Management Tip of the Day: Brace for unintended consequences

Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:01am EST
 
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BOSTON (Reuters) - The more you can anticipate the possibilities of unintended consequences of change, and be ready to deal with them, the greater your chances of success, says Harvard Business Review.

The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and HBR.org (http:\\www.hbr.org). Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

"Unintended consequences are common in business. Well-meaning managers often implement new policies only to find that in addition to what they envisioned, they've also created problems.

You can't predict the future, but you can help mitigate the negative with these two steps:

1. Plan ahead as much as you can. Gather the people the change will impact and scenario plan to see what might happen, keeping in mind that there will always be something that surprises you later.

2. Test the waters. Conduct short, focused experiments to see how various parties will react, and use the results to rejigger your plan. You can't eliminate all negative possibilities but you can get ready to deal with them."

- Today's management tip was adapted from "Be Prepared for What You Don't See Coming" by Ron Ashkenas.

(For the full post, see: here)