In the first two parts of this series, we covered the fundamentals of getting the right people and processes in place and gauging your organization’s readiness for change. But funding and standing up a new technology is only the beginning. Let’s dive into the most difficult phase of transformation – driving adoption and sustaining change over time.
Every organization has its own archive of cautionary tales of ambitious endeavors that never gained traction and were ultimately relegated to the innovation graveyard. Unfortunately, these memories of projects that failed are often part of the reason that investments in new innovations never even get off the ground.
In order for an organization to get beyond past missteps, it must diagnose why previous initiatives have stalled. Barriers to adoption and implementation typically fall into one of three categories:
1. Functional: Shortage of requisite skills and resources
2. Structural: Limited updates and communications, lack of measurement
3. Emotional: Fear of the unknown, insecurity about future
To assemble a team that possess the requisite knowledge and skills to launch, manage, and optimize your new platform, there must be clarity about their new roles. We suggest a Playbook to document the new workflow processes and procedures as well as defined responsibilities of everyone on the team. It should also introduce relevant best practices and provide an overview of the technology (what it is, what it does, and key outcomes it will solve).
Documentation should be accompanied by a Training Plan to establish new ways of working and build appropriate capabilities among key stakeholders. The goal of the training plan is to provide business users with the information they need to fully utilize the new capabilities being implemented.
Finally, a Staffing Plan is a must-have to ensure you have sufficient resources. Keep in mind that during the transition period, you’ll likely need 25 to 50% more available hours than the typical “steady state” as teams learn and ramp up on the new platform. During this period, consider leveraging external partners and/or contractors that have experience with the technology.
In addition to building, training, and staffing the right team, broader enterprise-level efforts need to be put in place. In the first part of this series, we addressed the need for evaluating and redefining current roles and processes. A related area that also requires attention is the governance model, specifically how decisions are made. We have found that the lack of defined decision rights (these identify the business, technology, and operational decisions that need to be made as a company evolves) is usually at the root of internal conflicts. A simple but effective collaborative exercise is to create a decision inventory that lists the most important (whether one-time or ongoing) decisions that need to be made and designating the ultimate decision maker.
A frequently overlooked structural tool is an Adoption Measurement Plan. One of the more thorough frameworks is the ADKAR model which consists of using a survey to measure awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement at various stages of the process from the initial planning to development and finally launch and ongoing usage.
The final and most complex are the emotional aspects of change. This including being intimidated by the unknown, a fear of failure, loss of control – just to name a few. While it may seem more cumbersome to loop in the extended team, including them early and often will generate alignment around objectives, strategy, and approaches. This will reduce the likelihood of objections or rework later.
Another way to make change feel less daunting is to build in pilots or quick wins to allow for early successes. This is the same principle in an agile framework of planning for small releases to quickly deliver business value and to generate feedback on what’s working and not. From the emotional perspective, it creates a sense of accomplishment and gives the team the reassurance that they can course correct as needed.
Also essential is a communication plan that details the meetings and presentations to share the core elements of the new operating model, as well as benefits, milestones, and quick wins. Frequent communication will promote a sense of inclusiveness and transparency which in turn builds trust.
Below are some of the tools and techniques we’ve discussed as well as others to consider for each category of enablers.
There’s a lot to consider when implementing a new tool or platform or embarking on another major change. You can significantly increase your team’s odds of success by thinking beyond the technology and attending to the people and processes, gauging your readiness and planning for change management.
Want to learn more? Reach out to our strategy experts here.