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4 Change Management Tips To Help Get Your People on Board a Technology Shift

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There's a technological shift happening in your business.

Perhaps you're implementing a new technology platform or making changes to the way you use a platform already in place. Maybe you're adding functionality or using it in new ways, updating your tech suite or changing it to better meet your goals.

Whatever the case, it's happening because someone in your business has done the research. They think it's going to facilitate your business or help free up time for other things. After all, technology can be a powerful aid to businesses looking to build towards their goals and help set their teams up for success.

But for any of that to happen, a technology change isn't enough. If you want technology to become part of your culture and processes, you need to get your people on board as well. 

After all, adopting a new technology or embracing new uses can represent a significant shift in your day-to-day business--something that can have a huge impact on your team. So throwing that change on them without any kind of plan isn't likely to get the results you need.

So how do you go about getting your people engaged? That's where change management tips and best practices come in.

What is Change Management?

In his Change Management Playbook session at our recent Excelerate =SUM(it) virtual conference, Vern Redwood--CPA and Senior Consultant with Vena--gave audiences some advice on how to use change management tips and best practices to build acceptance in their organisation for a technology shift. In doing so, he described change management as "a structured, adaptable and repeatable approach to enable the people-side of change to deliver organisational results." 

But what does that mean? What is change management really trying to accomplish?

Vern used the analogy of driving a car along the highway. "In order to change lanes there's a framework to do so. You're driving along the road and you usually turn on your signal to tell everyone around you 'Hey, I need to move over,'" he explained. "In a similar way, having a change management framework at your organisation is critical because it allows you to make sure you signal a change so everybody around you knows what you're going to do and it gives them time to adapt to it."  

With change management in place, employees can feel prepared, equipped and supported for change. And it helps: Organisations with a change management framework are six times more likely to meet their objectives, five times more likely to stay on schedule and two times more likely to stay on budget. 

While there are different theories and models you can use to help drive your change management tactics (watch Microsoft MVP Megan Strant's Evolving Relationships with Change Management Methods session on Plan To Grow to learn more about them), we at Vena like the Prosci Methodology for change management. "The Prosci methodology is an enabling framework for enabling the people-side of change," Vern says.

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Drawing on that framework, Vern offered several of his own change management tips to draw on to help enable change in your organisation. Here are a few:

Tip 1: Never Stop Communicating

Communication is a critical ingredient in getting change right. Without it, you risk alienating your team and leaving them without a clear idea of what's happening around them. And without that, how will they ever embrace the change underway?

In his presentation, Vern suggests starting the communication process early, letting everyone know that change is on the way and when the process is going to begin. But don't stop there: keep people updated on how the implementation is progressing, any delays along the way and what's expected of them at every step. 

In fact, communication should permeate every stage of the change management process. Keep your team informed so that nothing comes as a surprise. Educate them on what they need to know. Get leadership involved to provide guidance and demonstrate the key benefits they can expect from the initiative. And most of all, make sure that everyone truly understands how they can benefit from the initiative themselves.

"Step into their shoes, step into their role and just work with them to understand some of the technical aspects of what will be changing," Vern told the audience during Excelerate =SUM(it) 2022.

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Tip 2: Don't Forget the Power of a Great Story

Communication is a critical ingredient in getting change right. Without it, you risk alienating your team and leaving them without a clear idea of what's happening around them. And without that, how will they ever embrace the change underway?

Just as important as constant communication is how you communicate. And that, Vern says, is where storytelling comes in.

"Stories add value," he explains. "If you think of any great achievement or anything that has value to you, there's probably a great story attached. A story of overcoming challenges and reaching your final goal."

For those reasons and more, storytelling can be a powerful tool during the change management process. One that will help you at every stage to underline the importance of the changes underway, understand the broader picture of what's going on and build a narrative around the shift in progress. 

"What we believe is built through stories," Vern says. "If we believe something is worth a lot to us, how we perceive it will be formed through the stories that we're told about it." With that in mind, he breaks the change management process down like a story in progress:

  • Prologue: Build awareness
  • Act I: Generate desire
  • Act II: Build knowledge
  • Act III: Reinforce the change 

It's up to the person leading the change management process to be the writer, director and actor in that story. In other words, you're in charge of creating the script and putting it into action, while still being a significant part of the change unfolding.

HubSpot Video

Tip 3: Rely on Your Champions

The right champions will help build your communication efforts, know what stories to tell and help your entire team through the change management journey. That means it's critical that you have the right champions in place.

Your champions will help identify who will require training on your new software platform and ensure each user gets the right training to meet their specific needs. They'll help build weekly communications during implementation to ensure everyone knows where things are in the process. And they'll play a significant role in asking for feedback from your end users at every step so that you know where the biggest obstacles exist and whether everyone's needs are being addressed. 

But notice we said champions. There's a reason there's an "s" at the end--even when a single champion may seem like enough for your organisation. People leave or change roles, after all, which leaves a void behind when there's only one person championing the change along. So to ensure a seamless change management process and ongoing acceptance of your technology shift, it's always better to have a team of champions smoothing the way.

Tip 4: Ask for Help When You Need It

Even with the best team of champions in place, though, you may still hit hiccups along the way. If that's the case, you may need help figuring out how to move your people to the other side. 

For that, Vern recommends reaching out to your technology partner. They should be just as invested as you are in seeing your implementation or technology shift succeed. Not only that, but they're used to working with teams across their customer base, many of them probably dealing with similar issues as you. That means they likely have the experience and/or resource materials you need to help modify or build on your change management plan. And that can be a key difference in keeping things moving smoothly.

Change Is Underway

Let's face it: Simply introducing a new piece of technology or unveiling a shift in your tech usage isn't going to suddenly bring about the change you're looking for in your organisation. Bringing about real change means your people and processes need to change as well--and for that to happen, your team needs to be ready. They need to accept the change.

Better yet, they should be excited about it.

In order for that to happen, you need to have the right plans and processes in place to get your people up to speed and engaged in the transformation underway. Only once you do will you be able to get the most out of your technology investment.

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