End State vs. (and?) Case for Change

First taxonomy:

End State

Is the change completed, integrated and accomplished. There are multiple end states, in fact each stakeholder can be said to have their own. There are also multiple mini-end states along the way. The end of the phase of a process may be the end state for a certain group of stakeholders (or individuals).

Case for Change

Is a sales document in a way. It is usually also a business case. It has a lot to do with what is wrong now that needs to be fixed.


All organizational change is a combination of business and people.

End state descriptions could be said to be people oriented. Business cases have more to do with the work people produce than the people themselves.

I could teach you to tweak business cases to be more catered to stakeholders than the performance measures of leaders or the external financial environment, but it might be better to just leave the two separate. There might even be a few individuals who could actually be convinced the change makes sense because of the business case, without the end state element.

The hard part about “and” is that the business case will always be there while the end state rarely, if ever, is.


Most of the time introducing an end state description is just too much for leaders to handle. They are used to business cases. Business really isn’t about people after all. It is just  a big pile of people doing their jobs (the leaders hope, expect and assume). So “vs.” is more common than and.

If it IS vs. then I say go for the end state description over the business case. Because to really weave that explanation will require many of the components that go into the business case. With end states in the mix those business case pieces- benefits, financial numbers, costs, players involved- will be connected to actual individuals. So all those numbers will carry some accountability and responsibility- something business cases tend to skip over.

Despite what some practitioners and leaders think this case thing, as and or vs., is not a sales pitch. It should be an explanation. It should be communication that informs, explains and quantifies. It should also be something that makes clear goals, objectives and destinations. In order to get all of this I think you need BOTH end state descriptions and a business case. If you really have a handle on change (what that means and what that means will happen) then you can mix and match from the two to create a “makes sense” scenario for lots of perspectives.

I you have to make a “Case for Change” you may be in trouble. If you rely on just a business case, again, trouble. If you add end state descriptions your change has a chance. Have BOTH a business case and  end state descriptions and weave those together with the Business Case and you can guide big change to success.

A previous “state” post: End State or Future State?

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