Change happens. It happens every day. People change. Client needs change. Employees change. It is inevitable, and whether we like it or not, it is through change that people and companies achieve objectives.
What Is Change Management?
Change management is a disciplined approach that helps us get from Point A to Point B to achieve our objectives. It helps people and companies to overcome growing pains.
Why Do We Need a Disciplined Approach When Change Happens Anyway?
Often managers give a directive to initiate change, such as “we need more ideas.” Inherent in the directive is the expectation for outcomes. While managers may give great directives; they may also fail to take into account the mindset and behaviours needed to accomplish the objectives.
Change management focuses not on task achievement; it is about changing mindsets and behaviours to align employees and stakeholders with new directions and possibilities. Changing mindsets and behaviours is not easy. In fact almost 70% of change management initiatives fail because it is difficult to predict the reactions of employees to organization-wide change.
Helping organizations implement a idea-driven process for innovation is a change management initiative. We use our idea software as a tool to help change mindsets and behaviours to help organizations create a culture of innovation. SoapBox then becomes a part of their change management strategy, serving as a platform to foster a change of mindsets and behaviours.
How Do Companies Integrate SoapBox?
Our clients are most successful when they start by creating a common language for change. We have adopted the McKinsey’s Four Levers of Influence model to guide change. It gives us a common vocabulary to discuss the process of implementing an Engaged Idea Program.
Lever One: Understanding and Conviction
In this first lever, we want to communicate to the employees about why is the initiative is important.
At SoapBox, we have a SoapBox Communications Plan that is designed to explain why the initiative is important. We work with messaging that comes from the senior leadership . When messaged appropriately, we show how the idea management program relates to priorities and performance of the company. In the communications plan, we tie the topic of community to the priorities of the organization to ensure it is meaningful for employees. People naturally want to share their voice and the message of implementing a program like SoapBox will resonate strongly with the community.
Second Lever: Positive Role Modelling
Employees want to see people they respect using new tools.
They do not want to just see managers using it — they want to see the most influential peers adopting the new program or software. Informal networks are important for spreading awareness and excitement about the program. With SoapBox, employee champions at a peer level are our early adopters. They are the ones that will use it and then tell their peers about SoapBox.
However, leaders and managers still need to respond, to execute ideas, and to role model the behaviour that they would like to see from individuals in their community.
Third Lever: Skills and Capabilities
In the third lever, we want to ensure that both employees and leaders have the skills and capability to use SoapBox.
From the employee side, SoapBox is quite easy and frictionless to learn to use. Our client success services will work closely with leaders to train and educate them on the best practices for running an idea management program.
Fourth Lever: Reinforcing Formal Mechanisms
One of the most important change management approaches is to ensure you have the formal mechanisms in place to reinforce the new system and behaviours that will promote change.
If you do not have the structure in place, employees may become frustrated or think that it is not worth it. For example, if pay does not align with participation, then people may not participate. Pay, meeting cadence, metrics, funding, resources, and information systems all reinforce participation in change.
At SoapBox, we set monthly Innovation Partner meetings so that leaders can come together on a regular basis to discuss their community, important ideas and current initiatives. Monthly reports and weekly newsletters also help to bring employees back into the community.
SoapBox is the formal mechanism to influence the change. It allows leaders to be transparent to employees (who are vehicles that enact the culture of innovation), establish your platform to collect ideas, share responses, meet regularly, and assign roles to align with your change management strategies.
So, How Do You Manage Change?
Here is a simple change management framework that can help you start.
- Determine the future state desired, with respect to the four levers
- Determine your current state, with respect to the four levers
- Determine the from-to actions which are observable behavioural changes
- Build a plan
- Execute the plan
- Sustain directives
Remember, mindsets and behaviours are difficult to shift. All four levers have to be in place to be successful, although some may take prominence depending on the timing.
The challenge is the human nature of any system in large organizations. Anybody who has gone through it knows how difficult it is, and anyone who has not underestimates the difficulty. Using idea software can be a key tool in managing change initiatives in your organization.