All changes brought about by the global pandemic have been swift and substantial, impacting every corner of the social and economic landscape. While business leaders worldwide have been called to pivot their products and services to align with this new world, it is equally pressing that related change is introduced into the rhythms of the organizations themselves.
Recognizing that change, small or large, packs a punch on the individuals affected, it is essential that leaderst be meticulous in the way that change is carried out in an organization context. ExperiencePoint’s immersive Change Model, informed by human-centered design, takes this impact into primary consideration.
Yet seeing as though change can be an overwhelming concept for many, why not start small before endeavoring into this all-important realm? Below we’ve come up with a fun, hypothetical project plan for a small change project, based on steps of our larger-scale change model.
Our timely example of a small change in this context is the decision that employees of the hypothetical business ‘must turn on the video function during all virtual meetings’. We invite you to test out a similar, mini change project in your business space, as a prelude to exploring the more complex, impactful and overarching process of organizational change.
PART 1: Align Key Stakeholders
Understand: (The ‘Why’) This primary stage of our change process requires that those initiating it explicitly outline and sincerely understand why that particular change is needed. Seeing as though change is a universally difficult pill to swallow, it will come as no surprise that imposing change without razor-focused reasoning will rarely, if ever, be universally embraced.
DIY: Using this step as a guide, begin by holding an in-depth brainstorming session with some of the other leaders of your workforce. Present the change — the example being that all employees must be on video for all virtual meetings — and explain the ‘why’ that you have carefully thought out in advance. The floor will then be open to honest dialogue, where all will be encouraged to challenge and build on the ‘why’ until a precise and digestible reasoning for the change is both understood and agreed upon.
Enlist: (The ‘Who’) Now that a ‘why’ has been decided upon, it’s time to think about the who. The Enlist stage sees that a core team of stakeholders from various levels of the organization are chosen and empowered to plan how this change will be successfully deployed within the rhythms of that particular environment. When choosing this vital taskforce, it is important to consider diversity of thought and background as well who might be best equipped to influence and champion a change across different levels of the organization.
DIY: In the case of your mini change project, you as the leader will request that nominations are put forward of employees who possess great enthusiasm for the organization and who are respected by the majority of its people. Having included one leader (perhaps yourself) to represent the executive level of the business, your change taskforce will have been created— comprised of a handful of individuals from several corners of your working environment. Importantly, you will ensure that time is carved out for this team to meet, discuss and plan.
Envisage: (The ‘What’) The time has come for your core team of stakeholders to envision the opportunities and implications that the change will have on your organization. Taking a human-centered approach, they will brainstorm together in an open and judgment-free environment, mapping out and discussing all possible paint points to come and approaching each with an empathetic and solutions-based spirit.
DIY: It is inevitable that with any imposition of change, there will be opposition. Your mini change project is a perfect opportunity to recognize that this is a normal reaction that in turn must be greeted with a human-centered response.
Here, you and your mini change task force will come together to any and all possible pain points that could arise from the insistence of video in virtual meetings. Certain employees, for example, might feel uncomfortable inviting the eyes of their colleagues into their private home space. Having gathered a list of possible pain points, you will then work to empathize with each scenario, and ask ‘how might we’ questions to arrive at pre-solutions for them. ‘How might we foster a sense of individual privacy during our on-camera meetings’ would be one such example.
In this way, you are demonstrating that you understand the human implications of change, and engendering trust in your employees by fortifying them for the challenges that may come as a result of it.
In Part 2 of this series, we will explore the next phase of Change, ‘Engage the Organization’, which includes motivating, communicating, acting and consolidating.
Organizational agility is more critical than ever. Our live, virtual and expert-guided workshop prepares individuals and teams to lead their people through change in a time of historical business disruption and transformation. Register for our ExperienceChange workshop beginning July 20.