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We have created an acronym that can be used in change strategy. I-SMART-AM, a variant on a well-known task-management tool, (and possibly a quote by Yoda) represents the means to ensure that your situation changes, and that the changes "stick". This can be used for either business or personal issues.

"I" = Identify. Ensure that you have identified the problem, and chosen the change that can best provide a solution.

"S"= Specific. The change must be easily recognised, ring-fenced, and not mixed with other less-essential problems.

"M"=Measureable. It is impossible to manage a change that you can't measure, so ensure suitable metrics are in place.

"A"=Affordable. The change must fall within our ability to pay, whether personally or corporately.

"R"=Realistic. Do you have the capacity, the desire, and the resources to implement this change at this time?

"T"=Timebound. It is vital to set milestones, micro-milestones, and a project end-date, if the change is to "stick".

"A"=Agreed. Please ensure that everyone involved understand your reasons and methodology, and buy in to them.

"M" Monitor. You should appoint a Change Champion, who will monitor progress and apply corrective actions.

The above procedure has been designed with business in mind, however it is equally appropriate to personal issues. The only difference is that the Change Champion is you, and you need to ensure that you measure and monitor the changes to ensure that they are "sticking". In making change, it is important to inform those around you, whether family or clients/customers. The Touchstone Group includes Falling Snow Productions,  Touchstone Surveys, and Touchstone Strategic, all of which can be used to impart messages or collect data on the changes you are trying to make.

One warning that we would make, is that you must keep the task specific, and not too general. "We are going to make our company better", or "I am going to lose weight, get fit, have children, and have a happy life" will not work. A more sensible plan is "I am going to increase sales by 20%, between now and next December, by sending the sales team on an Effective Selling course, and recording month-end data on the appropriate sales statistics, and John the sales director will be the Change Champion". If necessary have parallel, but separate change projects, however dealing with changes serially tends to be more effective.

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