In today’s world of cloud technology and apps, changing or upgrading systems has never been easier. Whether you are changing from on-premise to cloud solution or providing your customers with a native app for their mobile device, much of the change is a simple as pointing your data to a new end point. So why is it so hard sometimes for those changes to be readily adopted? Why are you customers not acting or receiving your changes as you anticipated? Why doesn’t it just work?
Because your customers are usually human.
Change is difficult. Change has different impacts on different segments of your associates or your customers. Some adopt or acclimate right away and start realizing the benefits of your product or service. We love these customers or associates; they make things so easy. But we usually have folks who only realize some of the benefits, or have a hard time with the change. They become your squeaky wheel, your biggest challenger, or worse your apple that tries to spoil the entire bunch.
What you may be missing from your service project is Change Management.
Are your organization’s leaders skilled in the arts and sciences of change management?
Do you have a Change Management plan or methodology?
Is Change Management part of your project plan?
In my past 6 years as a consultant for some of the biggest brands in Financial Services, Tech, and Retail, strong Change Management has been the difference between extraordinary adoption and just a completed project, or even success or project failure.
I am a supporter of using a Change Management methodology called ADKAR.
Most successful changes start with the impacted stakeholders being made aware of the changes. This is just an introduction to the changes that will be coming. This information may have a positive, neutral or negative impact on your associates morale, job satisfaction, workload, role, and/or position within the organization. Prior to making your associates aware of the change, I recommend completing a Change Management Assessment. See below for an example:
Steps to complete a Change Management Assessment:
1. Identify changes or workstream
2. Provide a brief description
3. Identify a SINGLE Owner
4. Judge the impact to the stakeholders
5. Is it a positive, negative or neutral change?
6. Is training required?
7. Is a communication plan or strategy required?
8. Are there organizational changes associated with this change?
9. How aware is the organization that this change is coming?
10. Identify all stakeholders associated with the change
Often the building of Desire coincides with the communication associated with Awareness. This is your “Why”. Having a strong understanding of the possible outcomes, consequences and ripple effects is critical to be able to build the Desire for change. While creating your plan to build Desire, a great idea is to bring in 2-4 influential associates to understand what their concerns are, questions they have, and their thoughts on what the general populous reactions will be to the changes.
This is where your training or continuous learning plans come into play. In general, most people recognize this phase of change management best. This is where you develop and execute training, or providing the Knowledge, for your associates.
If Knowledge was the training or learning, Ability is the opportunity to put what has been made aware and trained into practice. You will also want to make sure you are quality monitoring in this phase, and be available to provide coaching and support.
Sometimes the most forgotten area of change management, Reinforcement is your opportunity to implement incentives (and consequences if necessary) to help your associates keep/adopt the change. The most important part of this phase is credibility. Are you walking your talk? Is this a fly-by-night , flavor of the month initiative? Identify multiple ways so your changes can be internalized by your teams.
The more impactful the change, the greater the need is for change management. If you are discussing culture or major technical system change, there are few changes more impactful. By investing early in the change timeline and a change management methodology will help ensure you execute even more excellently. This model can also be used for external customers, and I would even suggest just trying it for your next customer impacting initiative.
Have you used change management methodologies before? If so, how did it differ?
If you fear process, does this sound like too much process?
Are you considering a change on the magnitude of a culture shift?
I would love to hear your thoughts.
For more on the specifics on ADKAR provided, please visit PROSCI’s Change Management Learning Center.
Main image credit: http://a-golden-opportunity.com