Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Change Management from Buy-in to Enrollment

Change Management can become more successful with people at the core of change, the cause of changes and the purpose of change.

Business Change Management is managing everything that is necessary to get people to adopt new ways of working such as stakeholder management, communications, process or organizational change, training, business readiness and technical change management, etc. Compared to the business world 20 years ago, the speed of change is increasing, and digital ecosystem has become more complex and dynamic, Change Management also turns to be more complex, that’s perhaps part of reasons why the failure rate of Change Management is so stubbornly high. Leadership is an important success factor in managing changes, from buy-in to enrollment, how deep should leaders involve in?


If the management is able to get the support of everyone in the organization, it helps during a change process. This underlies the buy-in concept which is a top-down approach. The alignment of the work you do to the corporate goals and objectives and cascading strategic intent to all areas of the organization is key to achieving enhanced performance. Engagement and ability to impact change are just as important at the global level as they are within the boundaries of the country they work in. Though cultures, countries, religions, and customs are different worldwide, the Change Management required to make change work across your entire global company is remarkably similar. People worldwide want to be engaged enough, listened to enough, and supported enough to impact and navigate the proposed changes they will be asked to go through. Advocate culture of innovation to break down the outdated custom and the "old way to do things." No matter your language or culture, avoid local slang and colloquialisms. Businesses do the same types of things across cultures, objective behavior-based business language is typically understandable across the company and translates well across cultures.


In many global or multinational organizations,  the challenges of stakeholder involvement are real for Change Management effort. We should recognize that a lot of changes is unpleasant for those impacted. Stakeholder involvement and engagement nearly always makes these difficult paths easier to tread. However, the concept of true stakeholder involvement is an alien concept for many projects and change managers. Project teams often think of Stakeholder Analysis rather than engagement. Even the traditional Stakeholder Management process has a ‘them’ and ‘us’ attitude as its core! Many teams try to execute change without listening or putting in the means to measure their impacts on the organization. Stakeholder involvement has positive implications at each stage of the change journey. Problems with geography and time zone make true involvement a difficult place. However, the dividends for early involvement and continues engagement during the change journey payback hugely during the organizational impact stage. Having built strong relationships with stakeholders makes the listening process simpler and any adjustments in approach easier to execute. The more stakeholders can impact a change capable of seriously affecting their lives, the better chance the change will achieve or exceed the target. Change and project managers need to be careful to not fall too much in love with their own plans and processes. Though they may be master planners and implementers they, by their very jobs, are not in the best position to assess the nitty, gritty challenges and issues that must be addressed to ensure the plan succeeds at every level. Even the most difficulty of changes are best addressed by engaging those most impacted by them.


There is a world of difference between ‘selling’ and ‘enrolling.’ ‘Selling’ generally means getting someone do something that he/she might not do if they were in full possession of all the facts. ‘Enrolling,’ by contrast, literally means placing one's name on the roll. Enrollment implies free choice, while ‘being sold’ often does not. Today, it is common to hear managers talk about getting people to ‘buy into’ the vision. For many, this suggests a sales process, but the best way for people to enroll into change is by using valid data which help them make an informed choice. Ideally, you’ll also have them collecting the data, so they can discover for themselves the need for change, and become committed because they want to rather than because they feel they have to.


Leadership is crucial in managing change smoothly. From reactive buy-in to proactively enrolling and engaging, Change Management can become more successful with people at the core of change, the cause of changes and the purpose of change.

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