It is a recurring phenomenon in organizations: you hardly have a plan, you have one Concept developed and begins with the implementation, everything is already out of date. Or at least in parts. What to do?

More than change management: change schedule [+ checklist]

Causes for problems in change management

This can happen as a result of external influences, for example unforeseeable market changes or political decisions. These can also be internal influences, Employees for example, who react differently than expected, or new board decisions. The cause can also be us, the manager or the change team. Whatever the influence:

We will encounter this phenomenon again and again, will always find that we are not capable of detailing everything down to the last detail Future to plan, and that we have blind spots in us, i.e. parts of our personality that we are not aware of. The factors that can derail the concept are lurking everywhere. We call this phenomenon the factor X.

Factor X - the blind spot and our openness to surprises

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That we will encounter factor X is so for sure like amen in church. How he meets us and what he brings with him is uncertain and can steer us in completely surprising directions. Nevertheless, we should not give up working with plans and concepts. The factor X also represents our theoretical Basics and practical experience are out of the question.

On the contrary: He demands of us Respect before the task, enriches us with the components of vigilance and flexibility and demands openness to learning. Today's change processes need this enormous openness to such “surprises” in order not to become unrealistic. The dynamic in which things change and adapt requires us to be able to integrate them - now more than ever.

The dilemma of order and chaos

At the same time, it is overwhelming for many. We are reaching our limits, the call for stability and continuity is getting louder. This brings us to the dilemma that Albert Einstein once described well: “Nothing can exist without Order. Nothing can come into existence without chaos.”

At the beginning of this book, we reported that our perception is a limited resource because it is constrained by our attitudes, assumptions, and beliefs. This limitation – above all that Problem too strong a focus on goals – influences our ability to adapt to reality.

The dance with the system

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The understanding of facilitating Change is to be able to dance with factor X. The surprises and challenges that await us at the Implementation of our orders are an invitation to approach the blind spots and borders and thus the Solution to get closer. Where is that System sometimes blind, where naive, where too credulous, where is not looked closely?

This dance with the blind spots and the factor X requires inner stability, lust and openness with us and those involved in the process. For us, the image of dancing with the factor X is helpful because it has something playful, light and supports us in our openness and desire. We want to encourage that here.

Impulses from the off

However, external factors must also be taken into account: The classic external sources include decisions in politics, drastic developments on the stock exchange, changes in the law or simply the influences that are not caused by human hands, but by the environment and nature. These are all known and reliably recurring factor X topics.

Things get more restless on the floor when trading is driven by time and the market and it's all about being faster, better or at least as good. Creative and it becomes almost humorous when the impulses come from the “off”, so to speak in passing. Suddenly the answer to a question is found in the daughter's school essay, in a play or during a visit to a museum.

Hidden Agendas

Internal factors X are the often cited but unknown “hidden agendas”. What does the partner and the board have in mind? What is his real concern? Which political calculation plays a role? What information does he hold back - for whatever reason?

The suspected "hidden agendas" are often sources of rumors and radio chatter and tend to take on a life of their own. An information vacuum is filled by self-produced information and a new consensus reality slowly emerges, that is Reset, which is accepted by a majority and which is seen as everyday reality. The People start acting on it. The resulting dynamics are usually amazing.

The factor me

The phases of disorder in change mean that some people use the opportunity to position themselves in a new or better way. Sometimes at the beginning of a process it is unclear who this will be, what the game looks like and where it is headed. people who look at Regulate and keep agreements and focus more on the content are here light to the loser.

In his book “The Logic of Failure” (2003) Dietrich Dörner describes our lack of ability to really plan things through to the end in complex situations.

Planning as a guard rail

For this reason, here is the invitation not to give in to this illusion of the planning genius and with it the employees who customers and to protect yourself a bit from yourself. – Planning is a helpful guide rail, never reality.

Another, treacherous factual source is our already much-cited blind spot. We are unclear about our perceptual filters, we overlook signals, or listen to information. In other words, we only see what we want to see, and not the guard rails that stand in the way.

Allow customers access

Our customers are usually happy about reliable change schedules and klare statements by us. An understandable need, but it is difficult for us to do justice to it. That's why we make our customers aware of the phenomena of factor X and the resulting lack of real plannability of a change process when clarifying the order I aufmerksam.

Orientation we can type, but the actual events are about the actual course decide. In doing so, we do not want to evade the responsibility of binding commitments, but we want to promote openness and vigilance for what is actually happening.

Stay connected with reality - 4 questions

Just like the client, we also prepare those involved in the change for factor X. For us, this is an “invitation” to stay connected to reality. It can definitely have something light and playful and go through with it Ask be initiated such as:

How does the adaptability of organizations work?

Dealing with the factor X is an important part of the adaptability of organizations and thus an elementary component of the viability of an organization Organization.

Maybe you know the movie “The Monkey Business Illusion” by Daniel J. Simons: Two teams play ball, one Team is white, the other dressed in black. The task is to count the ball change of the white team and let yourself be surprised ...

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Take the factor X perspective

I would like to make a thesis on this: As facilitators, we know that there are taboos, unconscious and unwanted in every process. These can certainly be factor X topics. Sometimes it is helpful for the process to bring these issues carefully into the room.

We see it as our role to take on missing positions or voices. For example in the form: “If I were to speak here as the employee concerned, I would think xy and feel…” or “As you Customer could I think xy…”.

The deputy position

We see these deputy positions as an offer to the group. If the offer Resonance find, let's stay tuned to the aspect. If there isn't one, we leave the trail because it's either wrong or not available at the moment.

If you work as a facilitator team, it is helpful in these phases to share the rolls cleanly. The one accepts missing voices or positions and makes offers, the other remains in the process control.

Facilitator self check

A prerequisite for the successful change process is always the meaningful “facilitator self-check”. Questions such as:

These and similar questions help us to remain mobile and open in the process.


Factor X is an integral part of life and is therefore also part of change processes. Think of it as an invitation to openness - both externally and internally.

The factor X is the key to change successfully to shape, because it acts like a permanent reality check and impetus and ensures our ability to adapt. In other words, it keeps us alive and is our connection to the dance of life.

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