Forest or the Trees – What comes first?

Forest or the Trees – What comes first?

I am definitely a “macro” to “micro” type guy. Before I can get into the details I need the big picture. Once a framework is created, then, and only then, can I fill in the blanks.

Over the past few weeks I have been wrestling with different book format ideas.  What is the layout that will be the most “relevant, practical and helpful?” I reviewed the top 30 change management tomes to see if they could provide any guidance. Most of them were structured like, well, books. The challenge with the standard prose-style narrative is that it makes sourcing specific information difficult, especially when you need it in a hurry – “What should I be thinking about and doing now!”

It has been helpful to think about my target consumer – he or she is faced with planning and/or implementing a significant change at his or her workplace. This either could be a leader of a team that is undergoing the change or someone assigned to a role on the change implementation team.  I have found that this person doesn’t have a lot of time to skill-up for their role or even read (let alone digest) the latest book on how to make change work.
Thinking about past change initiatives, I realized that you need information most when you are faced with a question to answer or a decision to make.  Questions like “How do I ensure executive exposure for my initiative?” or “How do I get an influencer back on side?” need to be answered quickly. 
This week I decided to structure the book based on the key questions leaders need to answer about making a change. They will be organized linearly from set up, through implementation to post change. Often, change management is not linear, however, a general “start to finish” flow may help someone see how the questions tend to change in nature throughout an initiative.
So now that my book will be a question based format (the forest), I need to decide the content under each question (the trees).



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