There are change management engagements where you would be hard pressed to find any “resistance”. The change is so popular, the end state so clear that EVERYONE wants to participate. And fast!
Build a new audio/video/meeting conferencing system and they will come- in droves.
Set up a pilot and you will have many more than the number you are comfortable starting with waiting at your door.
In a way “everyone on board” is a special kind of change.
Be Aware Of
Since everyone is gung-ho about this change the INSTANT you announce any date stakeholders will see you as moving too slow. Remember they want this yesterday so any date in the future is unacceptable.
You want to have an accelerated timeline by any other change standards, but you want that set of dates to work for the overall end state you seek (your organizational end state is different than their personal ones). So stretch, but don’t overreach.
If this bring-it-on-we-are-ready change includes any installation of technology (our conferencing example certainly does) you have been handed a gift from above when it comes to the Pilot process. You will have lots of volunteers who will go out of their way to help you get this in and done. You will already have the support you need to build on each pilot (functional corrections, troubleshooting, maybe a support structure).
Make sure the size of the pilots is manageable!
(Always makes sure of this when it comes to pilots. In this case you could actually get this change thing right. 70% “failure” rates be damned!).
You might want to plan out increasing size for pilot participation with reduced timeframes. As with all change, load the front with time and small numbers and then increase the numbers while becoming more efficient.
This pilot and project process of people and dates must be held together with realistic expectations. You will have the organizational end state described, you will easily add individual versions, make sure you tie those two together.
Understand the needs of your organization and the functionality of this change. Use function as the glue from individual to organization.
But be careful. Function, when it comes to tools, is often overrated and overpublicized. When you flood the stakeholder environment with shining objects you better make sure the objects work as promised.
Remember they are totally into this change. The fall from euphoric can be a quick hard one when things don’t turn out as rosy as planned.
Be Conscious of
So when things do go a little awry, like, “we thought it could do that”, or, “the vendor said this could be done” (PS. this WILL happen) be ready. Be ready to communicate what you thought would happen versus what actually did. You started off with a small pilot right? Use those people to socialize function and the process to get this change as usable as possible.
Transparent communication around functionality can bolster change- however backwards that may seem when you think you need to hide something.
If this change, like our conferencing example, centers around technology or tools you will have genuine training- skill development. Those stakeholders will need to learn to push different buttons and scroll to different spots.
Spend the money to create good, understandable training (with video and audio and text- you know like the tool is supposed to facilitate).
Use positive examples of things that have happened during your change process to level expectations and keep that wave of good will going.
- Can you get testimonials for specific things the pilot group can now do that they could not before the change?
- Can you get a talking head video of an executive talking about using the product (versus selling the change)?
- Can you grab some numbers to illustrate increased efficiency?
- With our conferencing solution, did you plan a little R & D project as part of your overall change (because the second wave of this conferencing change would be to build a collaboration structure and culture)?
Communicate the good at just the right level and in the right spots to keep momentum going.