Why your next change program needs a support & feedback community (1 of 2)
So, you have been tasked with leading an organisational change effort. This may be a new product deployment (e.g. a document management system), or a new organisational initiative (e.g. a revamp of the service delivery ). By getting executives and leadership onboard and aligning the program with high-level strategy and departmental outcomes you would have done the right thing in many ways.
Let’s look at these successful approaches more closely.
You have done the right thing by taking the people-centric approach. This involves a sample of the ‘recipients of the change’ in discovery sessions. Making the change more relevant to the context of groups and individuals, and so they feel invested in the change.
You have done the right thing by having champions assist people through the transition.
You have done the right thing by communicating and training people.
So how do we support and cater to the needs of all the individuals? How do we support various parts of the organisation if we are only ‘this’ many people with only ‘this’ much time? One way is a distributed model where the… Click To Tweet
But now you have launched, you are finding that the level of adoption is not what you were aiming for.
You are wondering how the recipients are interpreting the change. What aspects are they resisting? Do they need help with anything? Do they have input to how it can improve? What value are they getting? Hmmm, and how do you update them about progress, or new things coming up?
You get a few emails asking questions, but what about the others, why aren’t they sending in questions? Have they failed in their attempts and never bothered to ask for help? Or have they not used the process or new technology at? And what about the people that are using it; how do you find them, and then spread their success?
A better feedback loop right now would be handy! Word of mouth and email aren’t helping you meet your KPI’s right now!
There’s one more ‘right thing’ you could!
The fact is the project team will not be able to discover everything there is to know from the representative pilot sample within the allotted time of the discovery and planning stage. Organisations are far too complex anyway.
In a previous post [change champions – 7 reasons why there aren’t just a “nice to have”] we talked about how the term ‘perpetual beta’ arose from the discovery that working from a requirements list is not enough to create and launch that perfect product or service. Instead, as people use the service or product, they provide data and into how it can be improved. And new iterations serve to fulfil more relevant experiences. Ultimately, it becomes more usable and adopted.
The same goes for change programs. We won’t know how the change affects every context in the business. So we take a distributed model where we assemble a network of business connectors or champions who help spread awareness. Champions influence, understand and guide the team members as to what the change means to their part of the business.
Another method in the distributed model of support and feedback is using an online community. A place where discovery, support and improvement can continue into the launch and beyond. A central location to interact with employees that are experiencing the change. To communicate updates, support member questions, receive feedback and share experiences to spread and grow knowledge.
This is what the change program was missing, and what might help level-up those adoption rates and unlock value.
The next right thing to do
The next right thing to do is having a place that represents the program. That ‘place’ is an online community.
Where people can coalesce to talk about the program, and build a community around the program. A place where their needs can be met, and support each other.
Whether it’s an internal or external community, the need is the same, and that’s serving your employee/customer experience. An example from a company that provides an email newsletter plugin for WordPress expressed that some of their customer queries were falling through the gaps and decided to invest in an online community where the community can help one another as much as they’re helping the community.
As a program owner, this is the missing piece to your attention problem of effectively serving every individual in the business. Now you have the business supporting itself, and the success of your program.
In the end, we want employees to own the change. Owning or being invested in the program is an emergent property of engagement. What we need is the right conditions for engagement. And that’s a communal place to share your input, be heard, make a difference, and feel a sense of belonging.
In the next post, we’ll look at the 11 reasons why you need a support & feedback community for your next change.