How To Successfully Deploy Catalysts in Five Steps
October 21, 2021 | Thought Leadership
by ExperiencePoint

Catalysts understand the dynamics of change and drive significant momentum throughout the transformation journey. Employees look to them as their primary source of support when acting upon their newly learned skills. As a result, organizations lacking a solid Catalyst infrastructure often fail at scaling and sustaining behavior change.

Preparing a detailed plan for Catalyst deployment is critical to the overall success of the transformation. The deployment period can vary in time but usually consists of 30 days to identify, enlist, and align a network of Catalysts.

Read on for recruitment tips and the five steps to set your Catalysts up for success.

Step 1: Have Managers and Sponsors Commit to the Process

Both managers and sponsors must be on board with the time and effort Catalysts require to scale change. For example, there is no use in having an executive sponsor support a Catalyst’s contribution if the Catalyst’s manager reels them back into everyday work. Committing to the process from the start ensures a well-structured Catalyst framework.

In month one, effective Catalysts dedicate 15-20 percent of their time towards the scaling initiative. In months two and three, Catalysts dedicate only 10 percent of their time, eventually tapering off their efforts as peers become more independent. The primary success factor for Catalysts is whether or not they have the support of their sponsor and manager to commit that time.

Step 2: Nominate Catalysts 

When nominating a Catalyst, don’t assume the best choice is the obvious one. Though extroverts may seem the most obvious choice for a community cultivator, not everyone feels comfortable working with them. Diversify your selections to ensure that all employees have a Catalyst they find accessible.  

Rushing the nomination and appointment of Catalysts leads to framework failure. Catalyst nominations should be unbiased, diverse, and dependent upon a set of objective criteria, like general availability and aptitude to deliver workshops. Another way to remove bias from the selection process is by having Catalysts assigned to groups by job relevance or having two Catalysts per assignment to showcase variety. Ultimately, passion for creating change and resiliency to withstand that change are important Catalyst attributes, but approachability is essential to scale sustained behavior.

Step 3: Recruit Catalysts

Crafting communication strategies to best invite your Catalyst is significant in setting the right tone for the entire initiative. Invites must be enticing to both the candidate and their sponsor. They should also contain an audition, whether that is an assessment, trial project or video audition. Auditions help discern between candidates who are passionate to be Catalysts but lack the will to follow through on tasks. If a candidate fails to complete their audition, it could be a red flag that they won’t make an ideal change agent.

Auditions can also confirm whether the candidates have the support and commitment of their manager and sponsor. The core team assesses auditions, confirms selections and then sends Catalysts out on their journey.

Step 4: Develop Catalysts

Catalysts are developed before being deployed, during deployment and even after deployment. They should constantly be learning and developing their skills. Even after they have started to facilitate workshops independently, they require structured support to stay engaged and sustain momentum.  

Training simulations or workshops are a great place to start Catalyst development. By having Catalysts engage in a project sprint, they can practice solving complex problems and accelerate innovation project work. Specialized facilitator training that offers certification allows Catalysts to experience workshops and practice delivering them. Follow-up online training modules help Catalysts practice and sustain their skills, while a series of coaching calls offers them direct support from professionals. Lastly, providing Catalysts with a toolkit is essential in developing their confidence, energy and knowledge. Through these forms of development, Catalysts develop into change agents that spread momentum throughout the organization.

Step 5: Deploy Catalysts

Catalysts are ready to be deployed once they feel confident enough to lead a workshop entirely independently. They are prepared to offer proactive and reactive support, such as suggesting to leaders or colleagues that they consider using design approaches whenever they see an opportunity and helping colleagues with business challenges. In addition to these forms of support, Catalysts should also be driving sustainment activities like sharing small wins with executives and capturing success stories amongst peers.

So that Catalysts aren’t burdened with unnecessary work, make scheduling workshops easy for them by providing a structured process. For example, start by identifying booking agents. Next, establish a training schedule and assign Catalysts to specific workshop dates. Lastly, determine who is to be trained and decide whether workshops will be mandatory for invitees or feature open enrollment. Often, an internal booking system like zoom or google calendar is recommended to expedite the process. Remember that Catalyst development and training continue as capabilities are being scaled.

Building Catalyst Framework

These five essential steps ensure that Catalyst deployment is successful and that momentum and development are sustained throughout the journey. It can be challenging to establish the framework to implement these steps.

For that reason, ExperiencePoint helps companies build the assets needed to construct a successful Catalyst journey. With ExperiencePoint, you can identify prospective Catalysts with objective criteria, develop communication strategies during ExperiencePoint’s Activate Sprint, and craft candidate assessments with expert facilitators. ExperiencePoint also provides Catalyst with follow-up training through online modules called Spark Episodes, triage toolkits, scenario templates and story capturing tools. These resources ensure that Catalyst deployment and development eventually lead to scaled behavior change.  

To learn more about how ExperiencePoint can help deploy Catalysts and scale behavior change, click here.

New call-to-action