The HERE snapshot is a framework for rapid situational assessments. It helps a leader hone in on the essential, unique attributes of a new context prior to taking action. “If it worked there, it will work here” is a pervasive mindset. The HERE snapshot works as a counterbalance to this mindset.
The acronym HERE stands for Helpers, End Game, Reconnaissance, Errors. It combines elements of stakeholder mapping and uncertainty vectoring with success and risk-mitigation questions in order to assess the four reasons identified by the change practitioners. The end result is a clearer understanding of what it will take to translate the initiative to fit the context.
The HERE Snapshot Tasks and Questions
The key question: Whom do you need to know?
Conduct a stakeholder mapping exercise.
The key question: What does success look like here?
Describe the day in the future when you arrive at work and it is clear the initiative has been completely successful.
The key question: What can’t you know?
Conduct a PEST+ exercise.
The key question: Where are you wrong?
HERE Questions and Tasks
1a. Identify key pivot points in your plan. Pivot points are those moments that will determine if your initiative jumps over to a path leading to failure or continues on a path toward a successful outcome.
1b. For each pivot point, identify the early warning signs that may indicate the initiative is off track.
1c. Identify one or two mitigating actions the team can take to keep the initiative on track.
1d. Assign ownership of monitoring this to individual members of the implementation team.
2a. Which of the uncertainties listed in the reconnaissance step are most uncertain? In other words, which are the hardest to predict with certainty?
2b. How will this uncertainty affect the initiative?
2c. How are you monitoring this uncertainty?
2d. Assign ownership of monitoring this to individual members of the implementation team.
3a. Which key stakeholders do you know the least about? What role will those stakeholders play in implementing this initiative?
3b. What would you wish to know about them?
3c. How will you get that information?
3d. Assign ownership of engaging with these stakeholders to individual members of the implementation team.
Catching Our Unquestioned Brilliance before It Becomes Unquestionable Failure
I’ve run the HERE snapshot exercise with executives from a range of organizations, including large consulting firms, energy companies, government regulatory agencies, and nonprofit organizations. In every case, the exercise revealed unquestioned assumptions and blind spots in current initiatives. We uncovered missing stakeholders, questionable assumptions, dangerous uncertainties, and exciting images of what success looked like.
All too often, we enter new situations with the assumption that the plan is right, and we look for evidence of this. When we get pushback from others that the plan “will not work here,” we interpret that pushback as resistance to change or, worse, incompetence. The HERE snapshot helps refocus our attention on the needs and unique aspects of the situation and away from our unquestioned belief that the initiative is perfect as it is.
This description of the HERE Snapshot is adapted from Chapter 10 of Unquestioned Brilliance. For more on this and other strategic leadership techniques see Unquestioned Brilliance: Navigating a Fundamental Leadership Trap.