Change Management and Desire

In a previous article, we talked about the change management process and how the first step in getting employees in an organization to embrace change involves making them aware of it. Read the article here.

The next phase in the process is inspiring the desire among employees to support and participate in that change. Making the
transition from awareness to desire, though, is not as simple as it sounds. In fact, desire is the most difficult of the five building blocks (aware, desire, knowledge, ability, reinforcement) in the ADKAR model to achieve in change management.

Let’s use the same example we did in our previous article. Your agency has decided to change its agency management system to provide a better customer experience with faster response time in servicing accounts and to extract and analyze client data to determine what additional products and services best fit your clients. You want to leverage big data to meet your consumer demands and generate additional revenue for the agency for greater profitability. So how do you get your employees saying “yes, we want to be part of the change”?

There are several tactics for building desire:

  • Be sure to have an active and visible primary sponsor
  • Create a strong sponsorship coalition
  • Personal engagement by coaches
  • Proactive management of resistance
  • Strong employee involvement in creating the needed solution
  • Incentive programs aligned with the change

You want to build a great team to lead and support the change – people in your organization that will step up and act. This means getting executives, middle management and coaches as your sponsors for change – those with strong communication skills, change management competency, flexibility, and interpersonal skills. Your sponsorship coalition needs to be proactive and listen and understand the reasons behind the resistance to change. This can be anything from fear of the unknown, feeling comfortable in the way things work now, wanting to know what is in for me, to even a less-than-stellar past track record of the organization’s in making changes. Address each of these reasons, including removing barriers to change, and make your case for why the change will be effective for all and how the support of each employee will help to executive the change successfully. For example, “our new agency management system will allow you to reduce the time you spend on renewing accounts by 25%. You can then spend this time writing new business, which will provide you with X% in additional commission.”

Once you have your employee on board, it’s time to arm them with knowledge and training.