We all know that many, if not most, organizations are undertaking Digital Transformation. The drivers are well documented – among them, creating competitive advantage, improving customer engagement and implementing new data driven business models.
With this level of disruption hitting them, organizations obviously value partners who enable them to deliver business value. They want implementors who drive adoption not software installers. But that’s not all. You have a tougher challenge than that - while you are helping your customers to transform you are also embracing digital yourselves. Your own organization is adopting new digital technologies and is possibly facing the same cultural challenges as your customers are.
If you are to be successful, you need to be great at delivering real change in both your own and your customers organizations. To do this, you need to avoid the mistakes made by some organizations when they implement digital.
To get you started, based on 25 plus years of experience, here are our top five change management tips.
1. Help leaders to adapt
It’s very easy to find yourself focusing on users. After all it’s called ‘user adoption’ and leaders are paying you to achieve just that. However, as psychologists will tell you, we often resist the things we most in life. Leaders can often do this. They usually need help to become committed to change, to overcome their own resistance and may lack the skills that are needed to deliver adoption. Any change management plan should include a plan for leaders so they can deliver the change they planned.
2. Listen carefully to users
People will tell you how you can help them adapt. You just need to ask them! Problem is we forget that we have two ears, two eyes and only one mouth. You need to create and listen to feedback that tell you about three desirable outcomes-
- Do people understand the change?
- Have they accepted the need for change?
- Can they see how they can be successful?
The point of this is to listen to feedback and then adjust change plans accordingly. If they aren’t hearing you then look for new ways to engage with them. Just repeating the last way of communicating and engaging is unlikely to work and may cause deeper resistance.
3. Engage with people
Adults generally change by doing rather than talking. In other words, if you can get users to participate in planning and executing your change, they will usually feel they are part of it and be more invested in a successful outcome. When you build your change management plan look for ways users can contribute. Remember, we’re not talking about just communicating but about people doing. Can they help with key activities such as current state assessments, building the plan, beta testing or change implementation in their teams?
4. Build your customers change capabilities
One of the toughest ways to implement change in a client’s site is when you work with uneducated leaders and program teams. You spend a lot of time explaining basic concepts, debating approaches and agreeing processes. With clients who know very little about change management you need to make sure they obtain the skills, processes and tools ASAP. With clients who have change management experience and training then you need to test that out. As Ronald Reagan was fond of saying “Trust but Verify”. You want to make sure their expectations and approach are aligned to your own.
5. Manage project fatigue
Digital transformation often generates multiple projects and programs. Your customer may have already initiated a tsunami of change in their organization. Contrary to what you hear most people can only change so much at one time. They have a capacity to change that can grow over time, but you should assume its fixed variable that won’t change much while you are implementing your technology. If it is exceeded, then people can become stressed and disoriented. Even if they aren’t, they may give less time and energy to your program versus others. You may need to find ways for obtain people’s attention and time. Or, you may need to renegotiate timelines and deliverables. The latter is tough to propose but not as tough as witnessing your program being ignored and under-valued.
Watch our latest video where David Miller, Founder and Chairman of Changefirst, outlines how technology companies can evolve their business model while continuing to ensure customer adoption.
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