Building a successful change management program is all about sweating the small stuff. As people going through change and move from where they are today to where you want them to be, you need to ensure they are ready, willing and able to operate in the new world. This means using the right building blocks to achieve success.
There are three key building blocks in the ACE model that change readiness activities can be categorised under – Alignment, Capability and Engagement. These activities are not sequential but rather should be employed at appropriate times throughout the change journey to keep people engaged.
Alignment is about making sure that all the elements of the new world all align with the requirements and expectations for the participants. It requires you to undertake an impact assessment and find the areas of the business that are impacted by the change and decide whether you need to update the policies, processes, procedures, work instructions, job descriptions, performance management systems, intranet and any other documentation or artefacts that are impacted. Aside from the operational alignment you will also need to align the strategic and cultural aspects of the business as any misalignment will quickly counteract your change initiatives. If you don’t align all of the bits and pieces around the workplace it is likely to create confusion and encourage people to hang onto or return to the old ways, thereby reducing the success of the change.
Capability is what staff need to undertake their job using any new tasks or knowledge required in the new environment. To achieve this you should undertake a training needs analysis to identify the new skills, knowledge and competency levels required to succeed in the new world. From there, training material, training activities and assessment tools can be developed to assist in building capability and assessing areas requiring further development.
Engagement is critical for any change to be successful. You are asking people to trust you and actively participate, take appropriate responsibility and ownership for the change. To achieve this you need to plan your communications to maximise effectiveness by delivering the right message to the right people at the right time through the right channels. You should start off by identifying who the key stakeholders in the change are and identifying their interests and what key messages they need to receive. Engagement tools include workshops, emails, team meetings, information sheets, surveys (before and after the change) and celebrating quick wins along the way. This is the branding and marketing component of the change and is critical to get people on board and keep them for the whole journey. It is important to remember that active engagement is two way, so capturing feedback and changing messaging to address any issues is important.
The ACE model provides a simple three step framework to assist people involved in managing change to not only communicate in simple terms with the business but also a quick sanity check that the key elements are covered off in the planning stages.
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