October 18, 2018 Cathy Mollica

Sustaining Change. The Art of delivering long lasting impact.

New tech promises a world of benefit, but true business value is only realised when the tech is used. Businesses need to alter their focus from just delivering technology and instead become obsessed with supporting users to learn, apply and adapt to new ways of working.

Historically, IT projects have focused on the technical requirements of deployment – the widgets to be plugged together to make a new product work. Often these projects include a simple communication plan as part of the project timeline. Maybe some emails are sent to end users, or perhaps a day one checklist is shared to bring users up to speed. But in the days, weeks and months following deployment, business leaders find that the technology doesn’t deliver the promised business benefits. The new way of working fails to deliver sustained change.

Here are five things you can do to avoid common pitfalls on your next project:

1 Map the milestones – your project plan defines your approach to migration of workloads, or technical transition. So, too, should it map your key communication milestones. Your transition approach can also help identify how and when users will be affected – who needs to know what, and when? Think in terms of building a learning journey by developing awareness, interest, and confidence with the new tools.

2 Spot your sponsor and pinpoint your power users – meaningful and sustained change needs to be both sponsored and role modelled.  Which exec will “own” the change? Who are your power users and influencers who can guide deployment, role model and lead the change on the ground?

3 Distinguish dexterity – different user groups can and will have differing levels of technical ability, confidence, and willingness to change their work methods. When you can profile these users and consider them as different personas, you can start to  precisely target your communication strategy. Thinking about plotting users on a learning journey, may help you tailor your communications to meet their differing needs.

4 Chart your channels – you can and should leverage all communication channels that work best in your organisation or team. Do you have a weekly stand up, a monthly cuppa, do you use social channels (like Yammer or Slack)? Every organisation and team’s needs are different. One approach won’t fit all. Remember that the most compelling communication is tailored to a specific person – profiling will help you identify how to use varied communication channels to target users at different stages of their learning journey.

5 Measure your methods – you’ll need help to measure your success. But before you start developing pie charts, understand how you will evaluate results.  Will you assess it in terms of technology availability; adoption and usage; user satisfaction or happiness; or user clarity on the message of change you were communicating?

6 Start again (or: lather, rinse, repeat) – the rate of transformation continues to accelerate and we’re all challenged to adapt to the idea of continuous next. The opportunity is for organisations to adapt to a true learning culture. Remember, communicating change is not a single point in time – it needs to be planned, sustained and continuous.

At Olikka, we’re passionate about supporting our customers and their users to sustain change and adapt to new ways of working with adopted technologies.

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