The 9x organizational change management approach takes the positive attributes of each of the previously mentioned change theories. Like Lewin’s “Freeze Model” this approach goes beyond the quantitative aspects to place focus on the people impacted by the change. The approach resembles Kotter’s Model by incorporating a checklist approach and addressing change detractors. Linked with the ADKAR Model it is based on bottom-up planning to engage those affected by the change. Lastly, it adopts the Nudge Theory’s choice architecture practice to influence positive behaviors to enact the change.
Beginning with leadership alignment, the goal of the change manager is to ensure that there are a clear vision and strategy in place that can ensure that everyone in leadership can understand, discuss, and support. This also helps guide the team to define what success looks like. This definition can range from project completion to a complete culture change. Associated with the change’s vision and measurable success is understanding what the importance is to the organization and what the urgency is behind it. Importance and urgency play an interconnected role with the mind in terms of behavioral change. For example, a doctor can tell a patient during numerous physical exams that they need to eat healthier and to quit smoking with no corrective actions taken. Yet, if this advice comes after a heart attack which is important and urgent, the behavior change has a better chance of being adopted.
As the leadership team achieves alignment, the next step is to review the event milestones. This will help to understand flashpoints that may occur. Each change has a catalyst event that causes disruption. Being able to understand at a granular level will enable the ability to predict reactions by those affected. For example, imagine that an organization facing a financial crisis will have to conduct a workforce reduction to stay in business. That event will then cause change in the entire workforce of being either laid off or having to incorporate a new working model with fewer people to support ongoing operations.
With a timeline of future events, a change leader can then identify the flashpoints of where major and minor issues will occur. At those spots is where a stakeholder impact analysis will take place that will help understand from an empathetic point of view of what the issues will be. Upon understanding the issues during the hazard analysis, mitigation plans can be developed to lessen the impact the change will have on the affected. This is the creation of the change roadmap where the change leader can incorporate into the timeline various change strategies or mitigation actions in line with the project timeline. This is also the point of where to apply choice architecture into the timeline and to what decisions the workforce will be nudged into.
With the timeline mapped out, communication planning begins by identifying the timing for the key messages, their content, and the medium. All change plans will have a change announcement, good change plans will have multiple messages, and a great change plan will have multiple feedback sessions incorporated into the process. During communication planning, the key to adoption and acceptance is having carefully structured messages that are highly intentional. These do not end of the day messages that are typical tasks, but messages that will be analyzed and dissected. The most important action a manager can take during a change event is having a clear and concise message that expresses authentic empathy.
During the planned feedback sessions, this is the engagement of the entire organization. Ideally, the facilitator will present the goal of the change while the workforce decides how to make the change happen. This is the transition planning process. This step provides the most risk of the change event being successful or not and it also provides engagement and change acceptance.
As Peter Senge stated, “people don’t resist change, they resist being changed.” During these sessions, numerous actions will be identified and developed to help make this change successful. The role of the change facilitator is to capture all these items and to build the change action plan. This action plan will then become the living document and reference for moving forward. It should also include a section on quick wins of actions to drive momentum and feedback loops. These periodical check-ins to measure what is working, what isn’t, and how should the change plan continue to evolve during the process
Being a competent leader in change management helps the process. However, the use of a specialized team to focus on change execution increase the odds of the initiative being successful. Key to the 9x approach is the application of four distinct roles. These can be performed by one person or each role can have a team. The first role is the change manager who will be the lead and point person for all things change related.
The change initiator or change owner will organizationally be the head of the change effort. The change manager will be the face of the initiative to the workforce. They are the interface between the leadership team, the change team, and the rest of the organization. While also being the project manager for the entire event. This provides a central source for the change which aligns the organization to one truth. While also ensuring that each step to the change approach is expertly followed.
Next on the team is the communications and marketing lead. This is the individual that carefully crafts each change message. This is disseminated to ensure that the organization understands why the change is happening, who is affected, what impacts it will have. They also perform the role of providing consistent and authentic messages. A secondary role is how these individuals market the change to the organization. With the goal to help the organization understand the necessity of the change.
Pertinent to the 9x change approach is the heavy influence of change planning developed by those being affected by the change. Their role in this process is the guidance provided by an unbiased facilitator. The facilitator’s role is the reinforcement of the change message. They also play therapist letting the affected vent their frustrations over the unsettling news. Through these discussions and workshops though, they will also be able to guide the workforce. Moving the team forward and empowering them on how they will implement the change. Ultimately, the team will decide what their new lives will look like. These facilitated sessions will then produce an ample amount of actions to move the change forward. Which will then be fed into the change leader’s comprehensive project plan.
The last role is the most unique role, the choice architect. The 9x change approach is the interweaving of nudge theory to help influence the change. Change events are successful once those that are affected subconsciously agree with the change and start to support the movement. This approach calls for engaging the organization. With the goal to help plan and drive the change by being an active participant in the event. This also cedes control to the organization to decide key aspects of the change. The role of the choice architect is to identify and clarify what those choices are. Then how to frame those choices that will be in the best interest of the entire ecosystem.
Copyright © 2019 9m Consulting - All Rights Reserved.