Change gets a bad rap was the conclusion we drew from a recent episode of the ITSM Crowd.

An interesting admission from our panel team of Rob England, Karen Ferris and James Gander though was actually that a lot of the time, it’s our fault. We talk about change being hard, difficult, painful, relentless, our language and choice of words tinged with negative connotations. We forget to champion the reason for this change and the positive outcomes and successes it is likely to bring. We need to shine the spotlight on the benefits. We have to market our planned changes to those that will be affected by them, showing the value that they can bring and get buy in from all stakeholders that this new way is the right way!

How do we do this?

In the world of product and service design it’s common to have a design sprint to quickly identify problems and solutions, research them and build a prototype product or service to user test.
The key to any new implementation is agility and speed to make sure change doesn’t go “out of date” before it’s even actioned or identified. The most successful service providers have this process nailed allowing them to adapt to changes in the marketplace and continue to be business trailblazers.

The hardest sell though will always be your people. Your team have to buy in to the benefit of what is going to be implemented and the reasoning behind it for it to be successful. These are the 3 keys to getting them onside:

Marketing:

  • Staff events
  • Promoting key facts
  • Questions and answers
  • Short forums & presentations

How you market what is coming is absolutely essential. Take my doctor’s surgery moving to online appointment booking, the initial process of providing proof of ID is time consuming (the receptionist tells you that herself in great detail!) but the time saved by not having to try to get through on the phones at 8am is priceless. With a different slant and language she could have outlined that benefit in far greater detail so the patients, the end users, can really visualise just how good this new service could be.

Value

  • What are the features and what are the benefits?
  • Can the team see the value in the changes
  • Have you checked they understand what will happen and why?

It might sound very simple but lack of understanding due to communication is a big issue in change initiatives. You don’t want people slipping back into the old way just because it’s comfy and familiar and easier. Your organisation is not a comfy pair of slippers!

Engagement

  • Who will be your cheerleaders?
  • Is there a sense of collaboration, teamwork and trust in place. If not yet, why not and how can this be rectified quickly prior to launch?
  • Have you provided the necessary support, understanding and skills for employees to be engaged with the notion of change for good?

If you have got your marketing and value proposition right then this part becomes a whole lot easier as part of the natural process flow. In a disruptive world it is essential to adopt a ‘one team’ approach which allows people to be ready and prepared for the fact that things will not remain the same for long. A culture of excitement and positivity around change should be cultivated and strived for in organisations, particularly in the digital workplace.

To use a family motto of mine “don’t look back, you’re not going that way!”