If you’re like many of us at KiZAN, you recently devoted some attention to following the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. While we here in the Employee Engagement Group are typically consumed with helping our customers effectively manage change and promote the adoption of new technology, it was nice to take some time and cheer for the amazing athletes competing in these historic games.
We thought we’d use the opportunity, in honor of the games, to explore some of the necessary components to help your organization achieve gold medal status when it comes to navigating and managing change.
On Your Mark...
With any change in your organization that will impact your employees, intentional preparation is key. It’s normal, once a decision has been made to adopt new technology, to sprint toward the finish line and enjoy that new platform. However, we recommend a pause to take a breath, stretch, and prepare. Successful change happens when we implement a clear strategy with the finish line clearly in mind.
Know your current state:
As we move on, we’ll talk about defining what success looks like and measuring impact, but we can’t do that without a baseline.
Take the time to know where your inefficiencies are and where improvement is most needed. This could entail leveraging a tool like KiZAN’s Maturity Calculator, which can help pinpoint areas of strength and weakness to focus on.
It’s imperative for you and your stakeholders to know what that “finish line” should bring.
"What exactly are you striving to change and why?"
"How will you know that your project has been successful?"
In the midst of a technology change, morale can ebb and flow. Unforeseen challenges can affect momentum. A clearly defined measure of success will keep you focused and exponentially improve your likelihood of achieving it.
Know your People:
Something we say often here at KiZAN is that “Technology change is People change, every time.” Given this, it’s incredibly important to understand and communicate how these changes will impact your employees.
Cultivating an understanding of why this change matters to them will drive adoption and utilization of this new platform, ensure you receive a full return on your investment, and solidify that your success is achieved.
Alright, we’ve set the stage and we’ve approached the starting line. It’s not quite time to take off yet, though. Before we pursue that Gold, we need to ensure we’ve planned effectively.
In order for your people to know what is expected of them, you need to tell them.
We recommend communicating:
Well in advance of the change
As the changes are being implemented
Frequently throughout the process
After the change
It’s important to communicate:
What is changing
When it’s happening
How it will impact your people
What is expected of your people
Additionally, be sure to communicate any upcoming training they’ll receive and any specific calls to action.
I can’t tell you how often I hear of companies deploying new technology and allowing their employees to simply “figure it out.”
If you want your new technology to be utilized as intended (in support of your defined outcome [see: On Your Mark]) it’s essential that you equip your team with the knowledge on how exactly to do that. Live trainings, quick one-page reference guides, and Q&A sessions are all fantastic ways to engage and educate.
Something else that is present in nearly every pursuit of organizational change is resistance to that change. It’s natural! We develop habits and workflows and become extremely comfortable with those
Remember, expecting this change to be adopted will impact your people, which is why “Knowing your People” is so important.
Effective employee engagement, regardless of whether or not you’re implementing a change, ought to encompass both the head and the heart. Remember, we’re not dealing with robots, but people that respond to investment. Anticipate resistance, and make it clear how they’ll benefit from jumping in enthusiastically.
And! We’re! Off! You’ve implemented the new technology. Your people are using it. You’ve prepared a long time for this, so remain intentional and focused and get to that finish line to secure your victory!
Track your progress:
It will be vital to frequently gauge how the change is unfolding.
Are your people utilizing the new functionality as they’ve been trained?
Is it achieving, so far, what you’d expected?
How is morale?
Are you on track to meet your success criteria, on budget, and on time?
If anything is going awry, what do you do?
Agility is a crucial component. All due diligence upfront can still give way to unforeseen challenges. When this happens, huddle with your stakeholders and pivot as necessary.
It’s far better to adapt a faulty plan and accept a minor delay than to stick to a faulty plan and fail to achieve your fullest potential.
Congratulations! You’ve finished the race and your new technology is paying off. Like any great athlete, though, we high achievers know we aren’t done.
Review your Performance:
As with anything you do, you can always look back and learn from the process. What went right? What went sideways? What factors contributed to either?
How can you document and share these insights for the benefit of your team and the future of your organization?
Sustain and Reinforce:
Create engaging ways to maintain the utilization and growth of your new technology platform. Encourage innovation. Gamify your organization’s utilization with rewards or recognition and look for signs of diminishing interest or activity.
Pass the Baton:
Finally, consider passing leadership to a team member to sustain the progress and success you’ve worked hard to achieve. Take the lessons you’ve learned, the experience you’ve built, the wisdom you’ve gleaned, and lead in brand new ways that can benefit your organization (all while promoting a leadership pipeline in your lineage).
Well done, change leaders! Enjoy that podium and we’ll see you at your next endeavor.
Optimized Adoption for Collaboration
Create a connected, engaged, and productive workforce.
KiZAN is a Microsoft National Solutions Provider with numerous gold and silver Microsoft competencies, including gold data analytics. Our primary offices are located in Louisville, KY, and Cincinnati, OH, with additional sales offices located in Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.