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2018

This is part 2 of a three-part series on the stakeholder analysis stage of a people-focused change management initiative.

My previous post on aligning people-focused change management with a disruptive technology deployment explained why it’s important to analyze impacted workforce roles across organizational business units. After documenting how each role will use the new technology, the next step is to identify any skills gaps.

Start by considering the to-be or desired, state to understand what the role will need to know to achieve the desired state. Because you’re doing the skills-gap analysis at the role level rather than individual level, assume the people filling the roles know nothing about the new technology. Later, you can work with team members to document their training needs.

Below is an example of how a role is documented at this stage to support a skills-gap analysis. Notice the three numbered sections.

Role Overview

This section includes a high-level description of what the role does and specific role actions related to the technology deployment. The impacted roles may be unfamiliar to you; therefore, having a knowledgeable liaison is critical in this step. If need be, you can usually get formal position descriptions from your Human Resources team.

Strategic Alignment

This section provides a focused description of how the role participates in various strategic business objectives. Aligning role to organizational strategy provides the justification for training and highlights how the role’s work product contributes to important organizational goals and objectives.

Knowledge Requirements

Previously, you created role profiles to document the current state. Now, in this section, list the Skills Capabilities and Workflows that are required for the role’s “to-be” state. Skills Capabilities are a high-level classification of the many workflows that are identified in the technology platform.

Notice that the Workflows component provides a more detailed explanation of how the skills will benefit the role. Adding this information is an important part of communicating the WIFFM (What’s In It For Me) to individuals who must learn the workflows. Additionally, this section helps translate learning objectives into terms people will understand and appreciate. When the new skills need to be applied to their daily tasks, they can reference this section to ensure they are meeting the learning objectives.

Outcomes

After conducting this part of the stakeholder analysis, you are prepared to evaluate your team members’ knowledge capacity to execute the technology implementation. The information you have collected will help to:

1.      Prioritize training delivery to ensure team enablement for implementation.

2.      Align training activities with project milestones to ensure timely delivery of training. In other words, deliver training when it is needed--not too early and not too late.

3.      Make sure individuals have the big-picture of “why” they need to learn the new workflows when they are assigned training.

4.      Identify areas where skills already exist. This can help to build momentum for adoption of the new technology. 

This is part 1 of a three-part series on the stakeholder analysis stage of a people-focused change management initiative.

People-focused change management focuses on the individual impacts of technology-driven changes occurring in an organization. Building trust and credibility with impacted individuals is a critical component of a successful change initiative—whether it is a transformative, enterprise technology rollout or a small project that impacts only a few teams.

Conducting a stakeholder analysis is a useful strategy to understand change impacts on the workforce. Stakeholder analysis produces a role-based view of the affected business units. Understanding organizational roles is a key part of people-focused change management. To gain this understanding, follow the four steps below.

Step 1Establish Liaisons

Begin by establishing a team of liaisons from stakeholder business units. Liaisons should be able to discuss the roles in their line of business at a deep level and have excellent communication skills. Liaisons are often the change sponsors for their business unit.

Step 2: Identify Organizational Roles

Each change sponsor identifies the impacted organizational roles. It’s important to keep an open mind about the definition of “impacted.” Something as simple as opening a new web application could have a significant impact if it’s a dramatic departure from the current workflow. 

Step 3: Complete Role Profiles

After identifying the impacted roles, the change sponsors document each role’s primary responsibilities. It can be tempting to document how roles will utilize the new technology, but the focus should be on the current state. 

In this step, be sure to engage in discussions with managers and supervisors so that your role profiles are as accurate as possible. This table shows example profiles of common roles at transportation organizations that deploy Esri technology.

Step 4: Discuss Change Impacts

After creating role profiles, it’s time for the change team to discuss the impacts of change on the roles. Change impacts may be underestimated or based on incorrect assumptions. To reduce this risk, hold discussions with the stakeholder managers to assess the true impact of change. These discussions also help prepare those frontline managers for the impending change.

The table below shows examples of how these discussions yield the current and desired states. 

It’s important to discuss change impacts in terms of pain/gain. Acknowledge any pain that will be felt by the roles, such as losing engrained workflows they have confidence in. Present gains in terms that resonate with stakeholders. This will help build acceptance and positive feelings about new workflows and technology.

Don’t be emotionally attached to the technology initiative in this phase. Let resistant stakeholders voice their concerns openly. This can yield the most productive results since misperceptions are often uncovered and honest dialog builds trust.

Outcomes

Making the effort to understand organizational roles is time well spent. The insights gained will help manage individual resistance to change (based on the pain/gain analysis) and plan change-related communications. Fostering an open dialog allows the change team to build trust and address stakeholder concerns. If significant widespread impacts are uncovered, the team may want to consider a phased project approach to deal with one or a few business units at a time. 


Securing broad, consistent adoption of new technology that disrupts or completely replaces familiar workflows is hard. Addressing people-focused change management in conjunction with a technology project increases the likelihood that organizations will achieve expected results. People-focused change management will be most effective when the change team establishes a clear vision and strategy.

 

  • Vision answers the questions why? and why now?
  • Strategy articulates how the organization will achieve change.

 

Developing the vision and strategy occurs in the Preparing for Change phase of the Prosci change management process. Together, the vision and strategy determine a set of tactics, which define what actions will be taken to achieve and sustain the change. Creating and executing tactics begins in the Managing Change phase and continues throughout the Reinforcing Change phase. 

 

Taking the time to craft and document a strong change vision, execution strategy, and set of tactics enables managers across the organization to drive change, rather than react to how new technology impacts their teams.

 

Preparing for Change

 

During this phase, the change champion works closely with the executive sponsor to create a vision that defines the need for change using a people-oriented perspective. In subsequent phases, the executive sponsor will introduce and repeat the vision in regular communications about the purpose and urgency for change. 

 

After the vision is established, the change team creates the change strategy. The strategy assists the change champion in identifying the specific people (managers and supervisors) who will be responsible for shepherding the change among individuals. Leadership uses the change strategy to identify and proactively influence any known resistance challenges before they impact the implementation phase.

 

Managing Change

 

As soon as the new technology is deployed, the Managing Change phase begins. Prosci defines 5 tactical plans needed to drive change. Once the tactical plans are complete, the change champion integrates change management activities into the technology project plan and follows up with managers to execute them in concert with key project milestones.

Synchronizing tactical, people-focused change-management activities with the technology project implementation activities helps ensure that individuals are ready, willing, and able to embrace the new technology as soon as it is available—shortening the time to value. 

 

Managers can influence the positive perception of new workflows so that individuals look forward to change. Individuals can embrace the vision of the future and make the choice to implement the change.

 

Reinforcing Change

 

For a change to become permanent, individuals must know their new workflows are supported. During this phase, the change champion assesses progress by seeking feedback from impacted individuals and managers. The feedback determines if tactics need to be adjusted to improve the success of the project.

 

Prioritization is usually a challenge during this phase. Most teams must accomplish their mission with the least amount of resources, which causes a flurry of activity for individuals all day long.

 

During these busy times, managers can lean on the change strategy and tactics to communicate with impacted individuals and ensure they receive effective training and coaching.

 

When everyday activities start to intrude on the change effort, individuals can pause, remember the vision, and reorient their actions to stay aligned with the purpose of the change.

 

When executed effectively, people-focused change management reduces the time that individuals take to embrace a change, adopt new workflows, and use new technology to make an impactful difference at their organization.