In an earlier post, I advised Change Agents to treat their change like a project in order to give it the structure and discipline needed for successful execution. I also described a set of four “must haves” for Change Agents to deliver these projects.
- Define and manage change activities.
- Define and execute the right change timing.
- Ensure the change is given proper resources.
- Ensure Change Agents have appropriate access.
Where We Left Off: I outlined the steps of defining and managing change activities in the first article of this series and described the art of timing your change for optimal success in the second post. In this article and the next, I will address the final two points on this list: securing the necessary resources and ensuring that Change Agents have appropriate access to get their work done.
It Takes Stuff to Make Stuff Happen: The work of guiding change is similar to the work of most projects in that it can take a significant material investment to get results. Here’s a short list of resources that Change Agents may need:
1. Communication Materials: Consider the staff time, materials and production capacity you may need as you lay out the communication plans for your change. Whether your communication approach will leverage websites, video productions, “man on the street” interviews, regular articles in the company newsletter or posters in the hallways, you will want to account for the staff time and material costs of change-related communication.
2. Training Materials and Training Events. Training is the core tool used to prepare stakeholders for change adoption. Don’t get fixated on only the classic classroom lectures and seminars though. Consider web-enabled training that can be taken on-demand, self-paced training that can be delivered via kiosks and even open labs where they make sense. Don’t forget the costs and effort needed to produce training documents and materials such as “cheat sheets”.
3. Learning Management Systems: You will want to track the progress of stakeholders as they enroll in training and complete their coursework. The “LMS” can be as simple as a set of spreadsheets if you have a few dozen people to track, but it might be worth investing in a more robust online software tool if you have hundreds or thousands of impacted individuals. The goal of using LMS tools should be to make sign-up and tracking as easy as possible for stakeholders.
4. Compliance & Policy Updates: Many large-scale process changes also impact the written staff policies and practices of an organization. It takes time and effort to get these documents up to speed and that effort can cost money. Change Agents need to include the staff time for preparing and reviewing policies and practices internally. Also, don’t forget to account for external compliance activities – especially those driven by the laws and regulations of state, federal and municipal governments.
5. Administrative Support and Technical Support: Most of the team members involved in a big project will have access to administrative staff support, technical support and perhaps even equipment such as computers, desks and phones. Many change-related activities require that same kind of administrative help, so be sure to account for this need as plans come into focus. Also make sure that any stakeholder training or communication efforts that require online access also cover the technical support to help stakeholders maintain that access. (helpdesk support, password resets, navigation help, etc.)
Questions for Chatter:
- What other resources have you found to be critical to a successful change initiative?
- Have you experienced the case where the resources needed for change are accounted for too late in the planning process? What impact did this have on the outcome of your initiative?
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