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Let’s face it, change is a necessary part of life. It may not be something we like, but it’s something we have to deal with, especially in business. Queue the traditional change management process…
In the past few decades, organizational change management has been a hot topic. What’s interesting is despite how much buzz there’s been around it, no one seems to know how to manage change. McKinsey & Company note that the failure rate of change management initiatives holds at around 70%. Today, the stakes are even higher because change is happening at an even more accelerated rate.
20 years ago, large organizations did a reorg every 7 years. Today, it’s happening every 7 months.
Couple that sheer speed with a 30% success rate and you can begin to understand the bigger picture. We’re changing quickly and we’re not being intentional about it – at least, not in the right ways. So how do we turn the tide? Is there a way to learn how to embrace change in an organization?
The first step in rewriting this story is shifting the change management jargon.
Change Management Process to Change Enablement Progress
It’s time to reset the way we talk about traditional change management and replace it with the phrase “change enablement.” By reframing the way we talk about change, we can get ahead of some of the fear and anxiety that comes with it.
For a lot of people, the term “management” implies that something is outside of their control and falls under someone else’s sphere of influence – and for most of us, a lack of control triggers anxiety.
So why use “enablement”? The word enablement, by definition, is the action of giving someone the authority or means to do something. Basically, it’s giving each person the power to influence change and own it. Instead of viewing change as something we have to manage, we’re shifting to view it as something we want to enable – it’s thinking about change as more of an opportunity than an obligation.
|A small number of people are responsible for the change||Everyone shares a mutual responsibility for the change|
|Top-down messaging about what’s changing and how it impacts employees||Transparent, company-wide communication about why change is happening and why it’s exciting|
|Focus on what has to be done||Focus on accelerating adoption|
3 Steps to Change Enablement
To facilitate the shift from a change management process to change enablement, your program has to have the right infrastructure in place. Our recommendation is to follow the three-pronged approach: tools, training, and support.
Let’s take a closer look at the essentials of change management when it’s redefined as an enablement process.
Part One: Tools
The first piece of the puzzle is having the right tools. This one sounds simple but requires some real consideration. Think about what you may need from a logistical perspective to roll out the change and make sure everything is in place before you move forward.
- Does your team need new software?
- How many licenses or seats will you need?
- How long will it take to download on their devices?
- How much memory does it take up and is there enough on the devices?
- Is your LMS equipped to support the change?
- Do you have a community board for discussion about best practices or overcoming hurdles?
- How will you share updates about the change? Instead of email, can you use a News or Notification feature on the LMS?
- Does your LMS have a coaching component for observation and feedback?
Part Two: Training
When you’re rolling out a change, you need to think really intentionally about how you’re teaching about the new expectations, responsibilities, and norms. A couple of the big reasons why change management fails in organizations is a lack of buy-in and change battle fatigue — employees are tired of change and naturally resistant to it.
Training is a healthy, proactive step that prepares everyone for what’s to come and leads the organizational change from the front.
Share the What, Why, How, and When
Before you start building out your training, think long and hard on the following:
- What is Changing?
- Why is it Changing?
- How is it Changing?
- When is it Changing?
Use the answers to these questions as the underlying message for your entire training program. Begin with a live-action video that features some of your leadership team speaking candidly to the camera about the above. Transparency from the onset can help people trust that the change is well thought out, which in turn can decrease some of the change management challenges.
Then, set your team up for success by giving them training on any new technology you’re rolling out, how to use it, and any new expectations you have around their performance. Remember, the keyword in change enablement is enablement. You can’t expect employees to do it perfectly if you don’t show them how.
In any training you roll out, keep the focus on employees and keep the messaging centered on how they can influence the change.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time. Use sustainment to make sure you get there. If you aren’t already familiar with it, do a bit of reading on the Forgetting Curve to learn the “why” behind sustainment.
With sustainment, the focus should be on fun, engaging activities designed to help reinforce knowledge and practice key skills. Ask yourself: Does this topic lend itself well to a game? What about role plays, a huddle, or a simulation practice? Sustainment activities should empower your employees to be ambassadors for change with their peers. By demonstrating behaviors for their peers, you’re reinforcing their learning in action.
Part Three: Support
You can have all the best tools and training on the market, but your team needs to know who to go to when (not if) they have questions. Let’s face it, the best tools and training should prompt questions and spark some curiosity.
As with any training program, it’s crucial to have a designated person or group to go to for support. You can use office hours, an email distro, or even a support number. Just make it easy to remember and easy to do. Sometimes, simply having a human that employees can connect with can help alleviate some of the fear that comes with change.
We also recommend weaving manager checkpoints into your change enablement program. In these check-ins, have the team members meet with their manager to ask any follow-up questions and to talk about how they’re instituting the change in their day-to-day jobs. Use targeted discussion questions and reflection activities housed in a companion workbook to help make sure these meetings are specific and valuable.
Like it or not, change is here to stay. And it’s not enough to simply react to change anymore. Instead, you have to teach people why the change matters, why it’s happening, and how it impacts them – not just what their new job responsibilities are. Empower them to take some ownership over the change themselves.
After all, what you’re really trying to do is enable change, not just manage it.
Unbox Change Enablement
Are you ready to transform your traditional change management process into a modern, change enablement solution?
Change (and planning for it) doesn’t have to be scary. Unboxed Training & Technology can help you enable change, today.
Call (888) 723-9770 and our team of experts will help you find the right change enablement training for your organization.
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