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.
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.
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.