When I read Bill’s blog “Where’s the Snooze Button on Change?” I was inspired to write my own perspective on managing change. And then I hit my own snooze button a few times in the last few months due to some competing priorities.
Change fatigue is real – and something I observe often at clients. Proliferating technologies, pressure to “go digital,” and mergers and acquisitions are just a few of the complex changes my clients are facing. Here are a few practical tips for successfully supporting change that I’ve learned along the way:
Create targeted communications: When doing a phased rollout of a system, for example, avoid the temptation to send company-wide communications. Instead, tailor your communication to the “phase one” group that is about to adopt the new technology. Then move on to the “phase two” group and go from there.
Leverage “change network” champions to determine the type and frequency of communications: Your change network champions and advocates understand their team’s preferences. Some teams communicate best during weekly team meetings; others want to use email, instant messaging or social media.
Do a roadshow to share the latest updates: Never underestimate the effectiveness of interactive and engaging live presentations to share content and promote change. Many employees will be unaware of specific details because they didn’t read emails or assumed the change didn’t apply to them. A live presentation with ample time for employee questions gets people away from their desks into an environment where they can learn and become excited about the change.
Offer “opt out” and “opt in” choices on communications: Maybe you’re purposely overcommunicating to end-users. Or, maybe you have users that are overly curious and hungry to stay “in the know.” Providing opt in and out options for certain communications will help you communicate with your users according to their needs and preferences.
Provide a mechanism for feedback: Users may not ultimately control decisions or changes, but most people want to be heard. Offer an outlet to help address some of the root cause issues for resistance (many don’t have anything to do with change fatigue).
These tips become especially critical for projects that are delayed (which we've all been a part of). Often times, these delays seem out of your control, but you have to maintain focus on the people and organization and how these ultimately delay the changes, impacts, and results that have been anticipated (and communicated). By using some of these tips, you will be able to better connect with your users and bring them along the journey (especially the ones that take extra time!).
What have you seen work well in your organization when trying to find the right mix for managing change?