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Stephen Dracup, COO at Chess, gives some pointers on how to get your people to buy into a change program using a simple three-stage method:

 

If last year has taught us anything it is that the ability to change quickly is one of the key characteristics of a successful business. However, have you ever wondered why your best-laid plans often lead to confusion amongst your people and poor adoption?

It's usually because we forget that our people have their own challenges and points of view. Exciting as your project might be to you unless they understand what they will get out of it, they are unlikely to embrace the change you see as obvious and necessary.

What we usually do:

User focus is an afterthought. Rather than engaging users in the process, an email containing a link to training, for example, is sent post-deployment.

What we should do:

User adoption is a parallel, integrated workstream that includes deployment.

 

"When organizations undertake digital transformation and focus only on technology at the expense of culture, that can hinder progress in many areas."

Source: The Wall Street Journal, 2019

 

If we were to boil down change management into stages, these are the three phases you are likely to have to though.

 

Stage 1: Engage (Prelaunch)

Identify and prioritise scenarios while learning about available resources as you plan for rollout. This stage is critical to your journey as you're setting business goals to measure success.

Define the scope and objectives of the change, and identify the people who will drive it forward. Work with them to create a project blueprint focussed on the simple message "what's in this for me." These fall into four main groups:

  • Executive Sponsors - Leaders are key. If they fail to adopt the change, so will their people.
  • Success Owners - Success Owners ensure business goals are realised by helping people use and get value from the new service.
  • Early Adopters - These users are from different departments and will become advocates during the launch. Include users who may struggle to adopt the change to understand and address their needs during launch. Involve your IT and help desk team members who will support users during launch.
  • Champions - Champions evangelise and help train their teams on the new ways of working. They build awareness, understanding, and engagement throughout the community.
Stage 2: Onboard (Launch)

Work with your key stakeholders to build and launch your adoption plan. With the blueprint defined in the envision phase, you can move on to the launch. Your next four key steps are to:

  1. Prepare your environment
  2. Build your adoption plan
  3. Launch to Early adopters
  4. Adjust your plan

Early adopters make the transition. Executive sponsors begin communicating and engaging their teams, training (contextualised to support how to transition and adopt new ways of working) is available and delivered. Your people begin to adapt to new ways of working.

 

Stage 3: Drive value (Post-launch)

Full-scale deployment and business success depend on usage and satisfaction. These require planning through the Engage and Onboard phases plus ongoing operational excellence.

You need to gather feedback from across the organisation to measure against business outcomes (defined during the envision phase). You will then identify any necessary corrective actions and implement them within your established plans. Feedback enables additional benefits, improvements in ways of working, and recognition of how future capabilities should be introduced. There're three critical steps here:

  1. Monitor end-user adoption
  2. Measure and report usage
  3. Encourage ongoing engagement

If you are thinking of running a new project and want to maximise your people's successful adoption, maybe you should consider this approach or something similar. If you need help with change management, our team of consultants can help you design and deliver a tailored adoption plan.

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About the author

Stephen Dracup

Stephen Dracup

Stephen is an experienced telecoms & IT professional with over 25 years industry experience. After graduating from the University of Manchester with a degree in English, Stephen started his career with Lister and Co PLC working for them for 12 years, rising to the position of Head of IT.

Stephen then set up Hoodpoint Communications, specialising in providing business phone systems and ran the business for eight years until it was sold to Chess in 2005.

Stephen stayed on at Chess as Managing Director steering the company to its best financial results. He recently became Chief Operating Officer and looks after the successful further development of the business.

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