By Garry Law, Technical Lead
On the STW retreat, Kerryn Ross from PHUEL introduced us to the theory of change management.
Things like adopting new technologies or processes can disrupt the harmony of work within a business, and change management principles aim to make it all about looking after people.
We were able to play with a computer simulation called Experience Change, in which Globaltech, a fictional company of a couple dozen employees was losing business and desperately in need of change. Each employee within the company had a biography that could be studied in detail, and you can also spend time listening to their thoughts about what they feel is the problem or solution to their company’s woes.
Here are the key steps to successful change management known as the Experience Change model:
- Understand the need for change.
Anticipate change and remain aware of external factors to avoid constantly reacting to surprises. Do research and be aware of environmental forces.
- Enlist a core change team.
Change cannot be driven by a lone ranger, a core team of stakeholders need to be involved. These people should also be strong leaders and experts.
- Develop vision and strategy.
Despite all the yawns and eye rolls, a ‘vision’ at this point is very important. It needs to be tangible, desirable, feasible, focused and simple enough to describe in a conversation.
Once the vision is done, a detailed strategy such as scope and definition needs to be created to guide future operations.
- Create a sense of urgency.
It is very difficult to break people from their comfortable ways, so it is important to create a sense of urgency. This could be done by sharing things like competitive or financial information, organising site visits or seminars/workshops.
- Communicate the vision.
Before the changes are implemented, communicate the vision to the affected employees. The messages need to be repeated, consistent (in message, and across channels), and help everyone see the ‘big picture’.
- Take action.
The action in implementing new processes should also be followed with new training and recruitment systems, new rewarding systems to encourage new behaviour, and addressing shifting power between units. It’s also worth being aware of ‘the technology trap’, in which new technology does not solve problems on its own, but rather supports the vision.
- Consolidate gains.
The small successes of change need to be celebrated to gain momentum. Keep the ball rolling by setting new goals and targets.