Faces of Change
A Change Management department is becoming more and more common across business and whilst in small business it might seem to be something that’s wildly unnecessary, learning some key points from it will stand you in good stead because now more than ever we need to prepared for the inevitable.
Without question, you need to ensure with any change initiative or innovation that you take your people along for the ride and the success (or failure!) of this will depend on the reactions and behaviours of your team and how well you manage them.
In ‘The Effective Change Manager’s Handbook’, Nicola Busby, author of the Change Readiness Chapter categorises people into three as follows:
Innovators and Early Adopters
These are the pioneers for your change. They are a very powerful group and can be utilized to give out positive messages to their colleagues, lead by example and raise enthusiasm and buy-in for the change initiative. Their enthusiasm and buy-in also make them a good group to use for testing, piloting and early case studies. A word of caution though, expectation management is vital for this group as organisational constraints may mean that you cannot move fast enough or be innovative enough to satisfy them. Their enthusiasm can easily turn into disappointment if their expectations are not being met
These make up the largest percentage of your users (hence the name). They are a vital group to work with as they can be persuaded to support the change, but can also easily resist the change dependant on the information they are given and the behaviours they observe from the Early Adopters. Messages about benefits, opportunities derived from the change and explanations about what the change will entail will bring them over to your side.
These will often resist change. It is important to find out whether they are doing this be as they generally find change difficult, or because they have genuine concerns about your specific change. If the latter, it can be invaluable to the success of your change to engage them and explore their concerns. You may find that they have got ideas or insights that no-one has thought of and which, if addressed, could significantly improve the change.
As you can see with each of these types, communication is crucial and even if you have the smallest team you should start to see where individuals fall in and how best to start thinking about working with them to ensure your initiative runs as smoothly as possible.