Sometimes the change you seek causes problems you didn’t foresee. That’s not all that surprising for those of us who deal with change on a consistent basis, but it does still catch some of us off-guard when it happens.

I’ve been working on some projects lately to align our processes with our overall strategic initiatives. Truth be told… this is a constant project in my line of work. We’re always adjusting what we do to better serve our clients, and find ways of dropping out dated tasks, improving existing processes, and introducing new ways of getting to the desired results. And just like road construction in most cities, as soon as you’ve finished the project, it’s time to start another one.

Earlier today, I was talking with a peer at another firm and he said something that caught my attention. When introducing change into the firm, it is important to “understand the problem that comes with the solution.”

Oh, how true that is.

It made me think about how we need to make sure that the right people are involved in the discussion revolving around the thing we are changing. There are the people who understand the process as it exists now; the people who have the vision to see how things need to be, and; the people who can predict the outcomes, good and bad, and have an honest conversation on how to mitigate the problems.

“No plan survives first contact with the enemy,” is a piece of military wisdom from Helmuth van Moltke. When it comes to change, no solution comes without some problems. As you formulate your plan for change, the better prepared you are to understand the potential problems, the better you can prepare those affected by the change to handle it and adjust accordingly.