Business Change Newsletter July

In this month’s issue: Winning over unique audiences

Afiniti is an award-winning business change consultancy that delivers change with a people focus, producing sustainable changes in culture, mind-sets and working practices. The Afiniti newsletter draws on the latest experiences of the team in delivering change in large organisations. For more change management articles and resources, you can follow our company page on LinkedIn.

 

How can we meet the needs of specific audiences during change?

It’s a real challenge to reach out to people and address their specific concerns. Yet the success of a project relies on communicating change different teams and unique individuals all adopting new things. The way you communicate with and train people has got to be appropriate for them.

 

In today’s complex organisations, we can’t lose sight of what’s important to individuals and different teams, if we want them to change.

 

Some common challenges – Employees don’t come in a one size fits all shape. Whether your teams are scientists, teachers, cabin crew, they will have different beliefs, ways of working and cultures.

Culture Clash – Many organisations have struggled with using communications, training and collaboration tools which don’t fit existing culture and working practices.

For example, the success of a Yammer roll out can hinge, in part, on how people communicate and collaborate up to that point. Teams often successfully use this tool when they have phones on their job and no computers – cabin crews have made good use of it, as have project management teams.

Other teams who rely on email and do not use social media or any other online collaboration tool need communication and training that fits their existing way of working. Using existing tools to introduce new methods makes sense here.

How change management supports delivery to teams

Discover your teams –  During a readiness assessment we ask some key questions about audience ‘need’ to uncover the best approach to delivering change. Some questions to ask yourself, when delivering change, are:

  • Do we understand the cultural strengths and barriers that exist on the teams to adopting this change?
  • Do we know all the common working scenarios that teams will face that will be affected or improved by the changes?
  • Do we really know all the tools and processes these teams are currently using to do their job?
  • And crucially – do we know what they see as their goal in doing their job, do we know what’s important to them?

Finding the right voice – Try to articulate the change in the way that makes sense to your teams.

For instance, we had an audience of scientists recently. They were more persuaded by a data driven approach and unadorned facts. After thoroughly researching the different teams involved, we used a series of tailored infographics to convey how change would make it easier to do their jobs efficiently and give the outcomes they really cared about – in this case the health of the patients on their trials. We had uncovered that using any softer marketing language with more of an emotive feel would not have been received with the same regard. Factual language was the way forward.

railsIn contrast, when we worked with Rail workers during a time of great change for the railways, they valued the story of the railway and its history. This meant we co-created a more narrative approach with the team, where videos of hand drawn illustrations were part of a brand identity for change, which incorporated how people felt about their railway and it’s tremendous heritage.

Whatever your tone of messaging it must always create a line of sight which provides a relevant discourse at every level  – The big picture (the vision and the future shared goal) – the team implications (ways of working and benefits) and the ‘What’s In It For Me’ (the impact on the individual).

Learning for the Real World – As with communication strategy, with learning delivery, we find that there are opportunities to make learning relevant and tailored for people. Templates and resources can form part of toolkits, for managers, that can be tailored to their function. Scenario Based Learning keeps the learning relevant and task focused for teams. Using the discovery work mentioned above to identify common work scenarios you can tailor learning.

Read about how to deploy Scenario Based Learning

Line manager knowledge – Speaking to these managers will help identify quick productivity wins and useful tricks introduced by new process and technology – all with heightened relevance to the manager’s team. Technology such as Office 365 comes with incremental improvements regularly updated by Microsoft. It falls to those doing the communication to let teams know about new releases that could represent a real coup for how they work. Working closely with line managers means you know their world and can spot quick wins more easily that will benefit their specific team.

 

Finally – reward individuals and teams, highlighting where they’ve used the new tech or process well in a real-life way. We’ve seen teams use new collaborative software to solve a specific issue their team faces and it’s given management the chance to use the platform to praise results.

Free resources

Preparing for change. Free online change readiness assessment 

Engaging and Communicating with your audience – Communications reference guide

Recent insights

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Here’s how to make the most out of this team during change.

 

Communications strategy ideas

 A communications strategy to get your project heard

Three effective ideas that will help your communications strategy get your project heard across a busy change environment.

 

 

Afiniti regularly blogs on the topic of change management with practical tips for benefits realisation and delivering change with a people focus. Subscribe below to receive content:

Business Change Newsletter August

In this month’s issue: Tackling resistance to change and driving cultural change as the basis of a change agile business.

Afiniti is an award-winning business change consultancy that delivers change with a people focus, producing sustainable changes in culture, mind-sets and working practices. For more change management articles and resources, you can follow our company page on LinkedIn.

How can we tackle cultural resistance to change?

Heavily unionised industries especially suffer from this but any industry that has years’ of doing things the same way or has an embedded cultural resistance to change knows the pain it can bring to businesses which must now continually change.

In a climate of continual change, people need to create an agile, change responsive business, to stay ahead of the competition.

Advocates and informal networks – tapping into informal networks is crucial, especially in unionised environments. Advocates might not be the people you expect; they could be the support you need at the local level, often vocal and not always agreeable, if you get them onside they can be powerful allies. Ask their peers, not people in charge who they are, as it might not be obvious!

Read more here about how to find them:

Uncovering the secret change network 

What if these dissenting voices became change advocates?  Dissenters can quite easily undermine your programme; they often have a wide reach and are a respected ‘go-to’ person for their peers.  So talking to them and paying them particular attention may turn them into powerful advocates.

Find the right change agents –  how the change agent actually views change is crucial. You can see in this graphic, what makes a good and bad change agent. Change agents build a change ready organisation because they understand change and approach it in a sustainable way.

change agents

Co-Creation – We now work in a world where people are seeking empowerment, collaboration, information and knowledge, autonomy. Your engagement and learning strategy must therefore reflect this need for conversation and working together; the need to be an active part of something.

If you give people the chance to co-create change – from execution, to ideas about how to implement change, right down to the cultural behaviour change that them and others need to make – you will give them the sense of ownership that drives commitment.

You can read more here about how interactive and creative comms can drive such ownership of culture and behaviour.

What’s in it for me – inspire the individual and build confidence and empowerment.

Provide genuine opportunities through the training that ties into the wider culture of continuous improvement. Scenario based, on the job training doesn’t just make learning more personalised and accessible, it makes it relevant and real.

Hearts and minds – If you are leading change, don’t bury your head in the sand! Robust feedback mechanisms keep you in contact with everyone and connected. Think floor walking, focus groups, town halls and workshops. Give people visibility and access those at the top so they can see they have a chance to make an impact and give their views. Regularly ask whether you are in touch with the current feelings of employees, not just union representation. Employees value transparency and honesty, even if it’s not always good news. It pays to have the courage to do this face to face.

A portfolio approach – When the businesses’ portfolio of change becomes bloated, initiatives don’t get finished and a culture of resistance to change builds – people anticipate change not being seen through and infer, rightly, that there’s just too much and that much of it might be pulled or not succeed, so why bother? Change becomes inchoate – destined to remain unfinished and ignored.

In this case the resistance is definitely understandable!

By aligning each programme with broader strategic goals, we create a line of sight between what the change means for the individual and their role and the programme’s part in the business’s success.

A portfolio approach is a ‘top-down’ integrated view of change initiatives, rather than individual programmes working to their own objectives independently in a ‘bottom-up’ manner.

This approach can help you build roadmaps that consider change across the organisation; the scale, pace, impacted groups, and allow for prioritisation of the right programmes.

The Portfolio approach has clear benefits. Through the prioritisation and sequencing of programmes, there is better resource allocation; more strategic management of risk, benefit realisation, investment and organisational impact.  It avoids individual initiatives ‘crashing’ into each other and overloading and de-optimising both change and day-to-day operational activity.

If people can see change is well planned and will be executed for the benefit of them and the business, they can get behind it.

 

Free resources

Preparing for change. Free online change readiness assessment 

Engaging and Communicating with your audience – Communications reference guide

Recent insights

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Employee engagement within a project or programme of change is vital in making business change stick. Here are tips on engaging with culture and leadership.

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Afiniti regularly blogs on the topic of change management with practical tips for benefits realisation and delivering change with a people focus. Subscribe below to receive content:

Business Change Newsletter June

In this month’s issue: Communication tips for managing change and empowering your managers to engage with employees. 

Afiniti is an award-winning business change consultancy that delivers change with a people focus, producing sustainable changes in culture, mind-sets and working practices. For more change management articles and resources, you can follow our company page on LinkedIn.

Views from the front line of change: Afiniti Engagement and Comms Consultant Nadia Conway Rahman

Nadia-Change-manager

Nadia Conway Rahman – consultant

What’s your experience of managing change? We asked one of our consultants to share hers
Nadia delivers change to people in large organisations like DHL, Royal Mail and Network Rail. She identifies ways of working and culture, and devises engagement and communications strategies; supporting employees throughout programmes including transformations and technology change.

 

What it’s like delivering change when it goes well?

The most high speed collaboration I’ve ever seen was at an energy client, up in Aberdeen. This remains a favourite project.

They’d bought a $1bn North Sea asset, which includes an oil platform. We had 12 weeks to understand all the technology changes they’d need help with, and make sure everyone was ready to switch to a new way of working overnight. This was a huge deal; nobody could afford to stop drilling, yet any glitch could have brought everything to a halt.

The urgency and high stakes helped everyone to focus on just getting stuff done. What’s more, being a young and energetic company, the IT leadership was up for trying new things and signing things off at pace. Their trust and enthusiasm paid dividends, and the transition was a real success.

Change challenges 

Sometimes when things are changing, you might sign up to the change verbally, but deep down don’t believe it still applies to you. Think of automatic supermarket checkouts – at the first encounter you wanted to throw down your bags and get a ‘real person’ to help you.

We do a lot of work to help clients introduce new technology, for example, switching to self-service HR. People might generally agree that web-based timesheets beat using bits of paper. They’ll do the eLearning and nod along to the concept. But when the new system gets awkward they’ll avoid using it and persuade the admin team to help them out directly.

What I really learnt from this is that, as a change consultant, you’ve got to go through these smaller changes yourself.

It’s easy to talk about big change like acquisition or relocation, but make sure you’re always exposed to smaller changes – fix your own IT, rearrange your office space. The frustrations and adaptations help you empathise with the people you’re trying to help.

What skills do you need to be a change manager?

A good change manager will see things from many points of view. It helps if you’re naturally curious and a good listener.

The best advice I’ve been given is: ‘try and understand before you make yourself understood – take time to see what motivates your audience.’

Change management tends to be done against tough deadlines, but we mostly work best with people who look and feel relaxed. So I think the most inspiring change managers are those who keep things moving without losing the calm manner that encourages people to open up and share what’s going on.

 

Engaging people on the frontline

Change Health-check: Planning, measuring and re-evaluating your front line engagement

Often called a change readiness assessment (CRA), the change health-check can be done at any stage of your project.

Middle managers and the project team are often tasked with leading employees through periods of change and yet often they don’t have the required knowledge of change management.

They are part of the communications plan and given the communications toolkit but can need practical support. A CRA and follow up workshop can help identify gaps in their capability and provide that support.

A CRA is usually a series of questions aimed at uncovering where the organisation or project is in terms of leading change, communicating and training around the new, identifying drivers and benefits, change method and culture.

It may also include a survey of managers with a series of questions around:

  • Their own and their teams’ commitment to, and understanding of the vision, the quality of the communications and dialogue they are having
  • Their understanding of their role
  • Current blockers and enablers

A CRA can help managers and leaders to understand the following:

  • The goals and benefits of the change and the impact on employees
  • Their role in the change journey and how to have a positive impact
  • What actions they need to take
  • What success looks like in guiding employees through change

The results of a CRA show where the change effort could be vulnerable or is already faltering. A resulting workshop discussion will generate ideas to boost engagement and address other areas of weakness. A healthcheck workshop could include:

  • A presentation of the change curve to show how employees react to change
  • Break away discussion on how well change in managed in the organisation and how the current change is being communicated and received
  • A plan to improve engagement on current projects
  • An outline of good and bad practices of change leaders and managers and how to make the task easier
  • An agreed set of short term actions for quick wins
  • A clear definition of roles of those managing change and their accountability

A project or programme often starts to stutter because of inadequate engagement and communication relating to the most important part of an organisation: its people.

If you carry out a healthcheck, you can identify weak points and give people the knowledge and support they need to deliver change, which is valuable at any stage in a project.

Free resources

Preparing for change. Free online change readiness assessment 

Engaging and Communicating with your audience – Communications reference guide

 

Recent insights

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Change management techniques for communicating change. Plus, approaches to communication that will get people engaged with your project.

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Afiniti regularly blogs on the topic of change management with practical tips for benefits realisation and delivering change with a people focus. Subscribe below to receive content:

Business Change Newsletter April

Welcome to the April 2015 edition of Afiniti’s Business Change newsletter. This month’s feature: Practical tips on benefits management and benefits realisation.

For more conversation on business change, you can join our Change Management, Communications and Learning group on LinkedIn here. For change management tips and our vacancies, you can follow our company page on LinkedIn.

Afiniti is an award-winning business change consultancy that delivers change with a people focus, producing sustainable changes in behaviour, mind-sets and working practices.

Company News

mark Wheeler AfinitiWe welcomed Mark Wheeler to the team. Mark supports our PPM practice and brings capabilities in Business Process Improvement and change management. His industry expertise includes oil and gas and he has worked to deliver many large scale, complex change programmes.

We are currently recruiting for a permanent change communications consultant. Find out more here.

 

This month’s in depth article: Practical tips on delivering change and benefits management

MOOCManaging benefits using change management principles will show the current state clearly and the reason for the change, through to how the change will be managed and delivered to achieve business goals.

Identifying, tracking and ultimately realising benefits needs a range of tools and techniques. Here are some that will help you drive benefits realisation:

 

What does success look like? Soft benefits are always important but to justify the change and demonstrate business benefit, the trick here is to be as quantitative as possible. For instance, if you are implementing new technology, you might want figures to show how many people are using the system in what way. Most crucial – Does everyone agree on what success looks like?

Quick Suggestions:

  • During Discovery, we tend to ask stakeholder groups what success means to them. We can make these conversations edgier by challenging them to actually quantify it (both hard and soft achievements).
  • Gather and compare suggestions across stakeholder groups and use this input in a session with Programme leaders, to agree key achievements and their measures. This informs the change/comms approach and is communicated back across the Programme community. You will likely find that key stakeholder groups may have quite different and diverse views on what ‘success’ means. We find this useful for showing people early on what a journey is actually ahead.

 

Outline how you’ll measure success right from the start. Knowing the current state then comparing it to the desired state will help you measure progress throughout and benefit derived, after the project/programme finishes.

Quick Suggestion:

  • Consider a storyboard to help people talk consistently about change describing ‘how things are now,’ outlining the risks of doing nothing. This keeps the reasons for the change, the current state and the future benefits in people’s minds.
  • Illustrate the case for change with infographics which compare the business’ activity with what the competition’s doing. This can make the drivers for the change and the benefit sought really clear and imperative.
  • Communicate the milestones for success across the stakeholder community through the programme newsletter for example, showing how each project is progressing against these milestones, with thermometer graphics or other visual indicators.

 

Roles and responsibilities – Identify the benefit owner and the other roles for people during change. Key tip – clearly defining people’s roles at the outset will save time and reduce risk later on.

Quick suggestions:

  • We’d normally produce a ‘who’s who’ of change for a Programme, if the client hasn’t got one already.
  • The process of photographing and interviewing each member of the team can take a bit of time, but it will pay off.
  • Collect each person’s take on their role, the difference they think they’re making to the Programme and their personal aspirations for change.
  • For team members, it is a nice way for each person to get respect for their role/contribution – the spotlight shines on the quiet achievers as well as the natural leaders.

Through this work you will build rapport with the people whose help you’ll be needing throughout the programme.

 

Identify your enablers and your blockers to seeing through change.

The Champions/Loose Cannons/Bystanders is matrix useful for this (click here – K Thompson et al 1999). Invest resource in the Champions, even though it’s counter intuitive. It makes sense if time is limited because when you find true ‘Champions’, it can be more powerful to equip them and get them talking, than to spend time chipping away at the ‘bystanders’ directly.

 

How will you actively report on progress towards benefits realisation?

Quick suggestions:

  • A dashboard style update is the most no nonsense approach, hosted online so people know it’s up to date.
  • Make it a regular corner of a weekly/monthly update.Then always back that up with a team session where project leaders can tell the stories behind the results.

Example: we produced a monthly chat show-style webcast for the first 12 months of a programme involving a new operating model. The leadership talked through results across the new Industry Sectors. The results had been posted online ahead of the show and they weren’t always good news. The webcast format allowed people to email in questions and comments which the leadership could respond to live.

 

Who will the change affect? Change management practices are vital in understanding how employees will be affected. Employee adoption is often a direct measure of the benefit of change. This should be among the Change Team’s first three questions. Once you understand how change will manifest for each job role, you’re on the road to knowing exactly who to talk to and how.

Quick suggestion

‘Change Journeys’ can be tailored to a Project and audience on a programme with any ‘journey’ graphic automatically populated by info from a database. This is one of the reasons why creative treatment is so important; it brings change to life and demonstrates the benefits, and progress towards them, during the programme. Crucially, tailored comms addressing different stakeholder needs in this way will address the important ‘what’s in it for me’ question.

 

You will spot that effective change management focuses on identifying the benefits and the impact of change at the outset, and then on tracking, monitoring and keeping the business drivers and goals top priority throughout a programme, to make sure the business gets the most from change.

 

Recent insights

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Afiniti regularly blogs on the topic of change management with practical tips for benefits realisation and delivering change with a people focus. Subscribe here:

 

Free resources

Preparing for change. Free online change readiness assessment 

Engaging and Communicating with your audience – Communications reference guide

Business Change Newsletter February

Welcome to the February 2015 edition of Afiniti’s Business Change newsletter. This month’s feature: Top tips for getting the best out of your change network.

For more conversation on business change, you can join our Change Management, Communications and Learning group on LinkedIn here. For change management tips and our vacancies, you can follow us on LinkedIn here.

Afiniti is an award winning business change consultancy that delivers change with a people focus, producing sustainable changes in behaviour, mind-sets and working practices.

Company News

Learning awards claudia winkleman

Members of the Afiniti and Network Rail team with Claudia Winkleman at the Learning Awards

Learning Awards 2015

We’re delighted to have received the gold award for External Learning Solution of the Year in the Learning Awards 2015, held by the Learning and Performance Institute. We won for our work delivering change to 1,500 people across 40 locations with Network Rail on its NROL3 programme. NROL3 is a business critical system, essential in the planning and delivery of maintenance materials, around the network. Read more here.

 

 

 

This month’s in depth article: Tips for getting the most out of a change network.

business change newsletterEven if you’re the best change manager in the world,  you will never be able to deliver business change on your own.

That’s why you need your change network – sponsors, middle managers and change agents all play a crucial role in accelerating change and making it stick.

Here are key tips for getting the most from your change network:

Sponsor

  1. Outline their role in escalating issues with them and where their authority lies
  2. They’re responsible for stakeholder communication so factor them into your communication planning and give them a voice in any communications output. People want to hear from them as they are often the figurehead of the programme or project. They will give credibility and convey the story behind the change and the big picture of what it will do for the business.
  3. Outline and get the sponsor to agree what benefits realisation will look like
  4. Make sure you understand their approach to risk and acceptable parameters
  5. Establish your decision making framework – you don’t want to refer too much or too little onto them
  6. Where possible, work closely with them to build a coalition of stakeholders
  7. Ask yourself whether you are actively reporting on progress towards benefits realisation
  8. Speak their language – talk about the project as relates to the overall strategic plan
  9. As part of communication planning, outline how you’ll measure the success of the role throughout the project and include timings and channels for communication from these key individuals. Tell them what you are planning to do and how their role fits in.
  10. The project sponsor is usually incredibly busy so be prepared to fight for their attention as you must keep in regular communication with them. Often they are distracted if a new high profile project arises so make sure you regularly update them through formal reporting and more informal conversations.
  11. Identify how your sponsor works and would prefer to receive communication and communicate with others.

Middle Managers

  1. Know them early on – include them on your stakeholder map. Managers are often involved too late in business change meaning they are more likely to be resistant and not fulfil their potential as champions of change.
  2. Provide them with information, resources and learning – Managers have to change but also have to encourage others to, so they need to be well informed and prepared.

Change agents

  1. Set expectations around their role
  2. Have a clear view of how you’ll build their support throughout the project
  3. Make sure they have the knowledge, awareness and skills they need to spread the word
  4. Put measures in place to help them build competencies as leaders of change
  5. Pick the right ones! Probably most important of all is getting the right people on board. Here is a quick reference guide to knowing what a good change agent looks like:

change network

You will spot that effective change management requires you to know your people, to make sure roles and responsibilities during change are understood and that people have the right access to communications and learning to adopt change quickly.

Recent insights

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Getting the message across during change

Consultant Tom Dennehy offers key pieces of advice for keeping connected with stakeholders during change and making messages stick.


Kaizen change management

How can Kaizen help us deliver better change?

Luke Scott outlines how the Japanese concept of continuous improvement, collaboration and communication can help businesses manage change.

 

Free resources

Preparing for change. Free online change readiness assessment 

Engaging and Communicating with your audience – Communications reference guide

Business Change Newsletter December

Welcome to the December edition of Afiniti’s Business Change newsletter. We discuss how to Make Change Stick through taking people on a change journey throughout a programme.

For more conversation on business change, you can join our Change Management, Communications and Learning group on LinkedIn here. For details of projects, change management topics and vacancies you can follow us on LinkedIn here.

Afiniti is an award winning business change consultancy that delivers change with a people focus, producing sustainable changes in behaviour, mind-sets and working practices.

Company News

Learning awards 2015 logo
Learning Awards 2015

We’re delighted to have been shortlisted for External Learning Solution of the Year in the Learning Awards 2015, held by the Learning and Performance Institute. We’re nominated for our work delivering change to 1,500 people across 40 locations with Network Rail on its NROL3 programme. NROL3 is a business critical system, essential in the planning and delivery of maintenance materials, around the network. Network Rail and Afiniti will attend the Awards on 5 February 2015. Read about our other success with Awards here.

 

TAQA receives a certificate of commendation for employee engagement

We are delighted that our client TAQA has been highly commended for employee engagement at the CorpComms Awards 2014 for work on helping its newly acquired oil platform and its people change hands and stay productive. They enlisted Afiniti’s support to help deliver the change to the people on the Harding platform.

 

In this month’s in depth article, we look at how to take people on a journey throughout a business change programme.

The Change Journey 

Most business change impacts people and it’s often up to the people to take the business forward.

There’s a destination and a route when it comes to business change and that’s why we call it a change ‘journey’. We may be unclear on the details and diversions along the way, but we know that to reap the benefits, we must bring people along.

Getting more benefits from an investment in change will come from people taking the organisation into its future state.

Change isn’t easy for anybody. Those managing and delivering the programme must make sure people are involved and engaged throughout and have the right skills to be able to adopt the new behaviours.

Understand resistance

It’s easy to understand why people are resistant and varying levels of resistance are an inevitable part of the change journey. Anticipating resistance and planning around it is crucial and will connect people with the programme even if they do not show full buy-in at any given point.

If people are not sure of the benefits of the change or don’t understand it properly there’s bound to be strong resistance.

We find that often resistance occurs at the levels within an organisation where people use the technology or processes that are changing, to carry out their every day tasks.

Here the old ways of working are part of an informal network and culture that can be very hard to replace. People feel a level of ownership and have a sense of security in what they know. Add to that the familiarity and comfort of existing arrangements and you can see why every programme encounters resistance.

Knowing and understanding existing working practices and informal networks means you can support people throughout the programme through communication and learning support.

There are many of ways of gathering this insight quickly and efficiently, such as one to one interviews, attending team meetings, hosting focus groups, as well as just keeping your eyes to the ground. 

It is important to discover who the key people are early and get to know them. They may not necessarily be integral to your project, but they’ll be the experienced and well connected people with a wide network that you’ll need to tap into.

Plan around your people

You wouldn’t plan a road trip without knowing who’s in the car. So to plan a change journey we need to get to know who’s coming.

The best change projects begin with understanding the impact for those involved. How do they see their role now? What do they look forward to at work each day? And how have they dealt with change in the past?

We asked these kinds of questions of frontline workers at an infrastructure client. The client is introducing major change. Its people need to collaborate in new ways and apply their skills in a different technological environment.

To bring them on the journey we had to understand their values – not what’s on the company intranet but the tacit rules that govern each team.

For example, when transitioning an oil platform, we began by interviewing personnel offshore on the platform, prior to transition, to establish their current culture, ways of working, software used etc.  We also interviewed key onshore staff, such as project managers etc. responsible for various aspects of the implementation to get to the “to be” position.

When we learned about informal structures of power and influence, it was easier to identify the most relevant communications agendas – we even found a fax would be more powerful than email! So the investment in face to face interviews paid off in terms of confident planning.

A gap analysis will provide knowledge of people’s needs throughout change –  the skills and engagement they need when moving from the world of one company to another – this produces a targeted programme of change management, learning and communications, appropriate to the needs of the audience.

Build and share your vision

They say you should start your change communications with “Why”. People need to know the reasons for change before they’ll buy in to it. Capture this in a way that speaks to everyone. For example, “We need this new technology to keep ahead of the industry, and here’s the evidence to prove it…”

Behind every technology change is a true driver of change. We only invest in technology when it supports the organisation’s strategic direction, and this all becomes part of the story of change.

This approach helped a national transport client begin a major tech-based change. The organisation has introduced many new technologies over the last 100 years, each with huge impacts. We helped them piece together the story of their development since the 19th century and this put the 21st century changes in the context of historical innovation.

The vision of the future state became clearer – from sponsors to frontline workers, people could see the change as their story’s next chapter, even though not all of them were delighted by it.

Make an impact

If change is a journey, the engagement campaign is the business’s vehicle. We want people to see it, recognise what it stands for and, ideally, jump on board.

This campaign also conveys your vision. Creativity is essential and depending on your stakeholder’s working practices, you can use a wide array of channels to get your message across.

A client in the transport industry was significantly changing the way they were structured, so they were more focussed on delivering what their customers need.

We created a brand new identity which not only brought this to life but gave them a reminder of the various parts of their new operating model, the services they provided and where individual teams fit in.  This was applied to all the communications collateral to reinforce their new way of working and the need to focus on the needs of their customer.

Exploring and learning

A vital part of the change journey is allowing people the space to explore and learn via practice and hands on experience. Give them the opportunity to voice their opinions on new ways of working and experiment themselves. We’ve seen branded learning areas, where there was support on hand to help build confidence, work well.

The journey will probably need to be broken up in chunks that are achievable, each one with different things to do, look out for or collect. You won’t be able to do everything at once. And you’ll need to give the right amount of encouragement, motivation and reward for completing each stage of the journey.

Change is constant in businesses now. Don’t let your project be one of those that doesn’t realise the potential business benefits because people somehow got left behind on the journey.

 

Recent insights

business changeInspiring commitment to business change

Consultant Sebastian May gives his tips for getting long term sustainable commitment to change from people in a business.

 

 performance managementMeasuring the right thing in performance management

Afiniti consultant Kirsten Walker gives her tips for going beyond a tick box approach to measuring and improving performance.

Business Change Newsletter October

Welcome to the October edition of Afiniti’s Business Change newsletter. We discuss how to Make Change Stick: how to communicate change and how to increase change management capability within a business.

For more conversation on business change, you can join our Change Management, Communications and Learning group on LinkedIn here. For details of projects, change management topics and vacancies you can follow us on LinkedIn here. 

Afiniti is an award winning business change consultancy that delivers change with a people focus, producing sustainable changes in behaviour, mind-sets and working practices.

Company News

corpcomms
CorpComms Awards

We’re delighted to have been shortlisted in two categories for the CorpComms Awards 2014 for our communications and employee engagement work with global energy company TAQA. The TAQA Harding Transition project has been shortlisted in both the employee engagement and best corporate campaign categories. TAQA and Afiniti will attend the awards dinner on 26 November. Read about our other success with Awards here.

Afiniti MD Corrina sets off for Florida with the Dreamflight children

DreamflightAfiniti is a long term supporter of the charity Dreamflight which sends seriously ill and disabled children on the trip of a lifetime to Florida. Afiniti Managing Director Corrina Jorgensen is setting off this year with 192 children (there are other adults!) as they experience independence and learn that they are not alone. We’ve been fundraising for the charity all year and Afiniti consultant Kirsten Walker recently attended the Dreamflight Bedford Group’s annual award ceremony. There, she heard some of the inspirational stories from people who have gone on to achieve so much despite facing huge personal challenge.

 

 Recent insights

building trust during business changeBuilding trust during change

Leaders and middle managers can struggle to fulfil their roles in leading, communicating and engaging during change.

Consultant Sebastian May gives his tips for empathy, storytelling and fulfilling the role of leading change.

 

tescoUsing the power of leadership and change to tackle a crisis

Honest communications and and accurate reporting are crucial to the success of a business. We give advice on creating an open and transparent culture and reinforcing values to bring about new mindsets.

 

 

In this month’s in depth article, we look at how change management supports a project or programme.

What to expect from a change management consultancy

Many project and programme managers are curious about how change management works as part of business change and how bringing in this kind of support would benefit their project and the business.

Here we look at what PMs can expect from a change management consultancy:

  • A note on methodology. Change management consultancies offer different approaches to this. Some like to stick with their own methodology; some rigorously apply a renowned method like Prosci and recommend you should follow it to the letter.Others get to know your organisation quickly and also use the benefit of hindsight to know what has worked in the past in similar situations to apply a solution that fits. Whatever the PM decides to go for, they need to be sure that the solution will reduce resistance and embed the change through a focus on the people in the organisation.
  • Working with, not observing. Don’t get us wrong, change management should start in the initial stages of a project and involve some strategising. This is because it plays an important part in identifying what the future state of the organisation will actually look like. However, change management is also a discipline which heavily focuses on the delivery of change to an organisation’s people. Consultants who write endless reports and recommendations don’t always go on to actively embed change and reduce risk on a project through engagement, learning, continual measurement and actively minimising resistance. The aim for the PM is to know that they will benefit from creative, hands on delivery and that they have a partner that supports them in every step of delivery and shares in their goals and challenges.

The best change management solution should focus on working together with internal teams based on a deep knowledge of the business and an experience of what works on similar projects. Risk is then reduced and people are inspired to take the organisation into its envisioned future state. We’ve seen that the pace and complexity of change in businesses now means they are more likely than ever to need hands on practical delivery support to unite their business behind change.

Recent Business Change case studies

DHL

 

Creating a new warehouse spirit

Our client, a global logistics company, implemented a new Warehouse Management System that was to be rolled out worldwide. They enlisted our help to change behaviour and mindsets through a programme of learning and engagement.

 

Business Change Newsletter August

Welcome to the August edition of Afiniti’s Business Change newsletter. We discuss how to Make Change Stick: how to communicate change and how to improve performance and increase change capability.

For more conversation on business change, you can join our Change management, communications and learning group on LinkedIn here 

Afiniti is an award winning business change consultancy that delivers change with a people focus, producing sustainable changes in behaviours, mind-sets and working practices.

The new Afiniti website

With a new look and content our new site describes what we do and our experience in managing and delivering change. Please take a look around. We’re always grateful for any feedback so email comms@afiniti.co.uk with your views.

Change Readiness Assessment

6-Lever-Tool_Diagram

Our change readiness assessment uncovers where you are now, establishes the rationale for change and what needs to be done to accelerate change and most importantly make it sustainable.

The assessment is based on our 6Lever™ model, which looks at key capabilities that underpin successful change delivery. Find out more here

 

 

Are middle managers seen unfairly during business change?

middle managers

Consultant Anthony Edwards looked at how we regard middle managers during change.

Middle managers often get a bad press but those of us working in business change know that they can be a big asset if involved and engaged the right way at the right time.

 

 

In this month’s in depth article, we look at the emotional impact of change and how communication and learning can change mindsets and behaviours.

 

How do you communicate your Change Story?

Anyone managing a large change programme or project knows well that it can be a complex journey moving from your current business to your future state. For example, you may want to move your employees from their current computers to tablets, or you may want to up-skill staff and equip them with new skills.

Drivers like new market offering, technology change, and restructure can create larger programmes involving changes to the way people work and even the culture of your business.

It’s easy to get your head stuck in the detail. You spend weeks, sometimes months, planning and strategising. Sometimes people forget about the delivery to the end user. Ultimately you know that the company and staff will benefit from your change project. But are they ready for it? How do they feel about it and have they been fully engaged?

Engage them early

Analysing and engaging stakeholders and your user community early is integral to ensuring you know how different people feel about:

  • Change in your organisation in general
  • The outcomes and benefits of your project
  • The journey that everyone will take part in

This knowledge will avoid some potential friction with stakeholder groups and make for more resilient project plans.

 

A reassuring leadership presence

Leaders have a vital role in reassuring people that the change is needed and beneficial, through conveying the vision and the future state of the business. They play a big role in what Lewin calls ‘unfreezing’  – getting people to start to consider another way of working and loosening existing emotional ties. To encourage people to move forward they have to see more of an incentive to adopting the change than sticking with what they know.

 

Make them feel part of your journey

It simply isn’t enough telling people about the work you do, they want to be included and feel that they can have a real impact. Letting others contribute to your project can help you share the burden of some of your work, and it can also help you share some of the responsibilities and make for a smoother journey for everyone involved.

 

Sharing is caring

Employees expect you to run a transparent business, and running a transparent project will help you prevent negative opinions from being formed. Ensure everybody knows about what progress you have made. If you fall behind, clearly explain why. This will limit push-back from your employees, and sometimes even help you find new solutions to some of your problems.

 

Be inclusive

Nobody likes to be left out. Even though different stakeholders will have a different impact on your project and not everybody will be equally influential across your company, you should aim to treat everyone equally:

  • Everybody should have access to some of your project information; even if this may differ in terms of content
  • Everybody should have the opportunity to leave (constructive) feedback and comment

 

Everybody needs something

Don’t forget that everybody has different needs, desires and expectations. While some of your employees might already be highly engaged with your work, others maybe disinterested. It is essential to find out who they are. Highly engaged end users will have the loudest voices and might overshadow some other crucial stakeholders. And you may have to invest some additional effort into turning disengaged staff into happy customers. Make them proud of your company.

 

Help them to collaborate and learn

Here we’re talking about making sense of change and having the ability to actively contribute as well as feeling comfortable working with new technology or processes. People can feel like change is happening to them rather than they are part of a journey. Equipping them with new skills is an engagement opportunity not to be missed. If you make the learning social you reduce silos and help people to collaborate and express feedback. It’s the combination of learning and communications that make change stick.

 

Tailor it for them

Customised learning and scenario based learning both deliver learning that makes sense of change for a learner’s unique role. This needs a learning consultant who knows your business (or can get to know it) and how its people work. People need time to make sense of the new technology or processes – time to learn and time to understand. Allowing people to develop their own solutions and work together with colleagues will mean they gain confidence and the change is embedded more sustainably.

Overall, it’s the meaningful combination of engagement, communications and learning that will really help people actively participate and adopt the change.