09 Aug For Best Results, Prioritize Training Early in the Change Process
In a previous blog post, my colleague, Chris Jacobs, shared three common causes of failure in change initiatives: Not identifying key stakeholders, not doing a formal stakeholder analysis, and not conducting an impact assessment. This should come as no surprise, but by not prioritizing upfront information-gathering and evaluation, it becomes increasingly more difficult to measure the change’s impact – and, ultimately, effectively prepare for and execute the change.
In surveying executives about their change management practices (*see below for more details), we found that what companies do tend to prioritize to enable successful change management is training. However, a coordinated training program requires a solid understanding of stakeholders, their skillsets, and how the planned change is going to impact those individuals. That is, it requires those three things that are commonly ignored when it comes to change management. Thus, while training is often executed, it’s ultimately not as valuable as it could be, potentially slowing the rate of adoption due to individuals not having the necessary skillsets required to align to the future state.
At Navigate, we recommend integrating training early on in the process, so that you have an intimate understanding of the impact the change will have on key stakeholders. Beyond the upfront analysis required to design an effective training program, we also recommend that you consider the following:
Is your training customized and role-based?
High-level, generic training will be of very little value to your team – the training must be relevant to the specific needs of your business. Conducting stakeholder analyses and impact assessments will allow you to map the roles and responsibilities of your team to the new system, charting the skills they will need to manage the change. As a result, you will be in a better position to modularize the training into role-based silos so that people get the training they need for their specific job. Further, by taking an empathetic approach to the design of the training program, you will ensure that the training itself is written in language that is useful and meaningful to those who need to put it into action.
Is your training scalable?
Essentially, creating modules and corresponding blueprints for your training enables its scalability. Different teams can mix-and-match the modules for customized delivery, as discussed above, without spending time individually developing a course for every role. Because the available modules will cover both system- and process-based information, your teams should be able to build customized and comprehensive training plans with minimal effort. To increase the speed at which the training is developed, multiple people on a team can work together to execute the blueprint and build their team’s training package.
Is your training truly a priority?
As indicated by our survey results, training is very often an early-identified priority for companies as they outline a roadmap for the adoption of a change. However, as the date of deployment nears, and key stakeholders and leaders become busier and often more distracted, training tends to become more of a “nice to have” than a “need to have.” As mentioned above, if you make the development of the training scalable, it optimizes the bandwidth you have available for execution, making success much more likely.
Prioritizing training early in the change process via stakeholder analyses and impact assessments will foster an intimate understanding of what the impact of the change will be on the various stakeholders and how you need to prepare them for success. Following this, customized training can be executed and, more importantly, monitored, to evaluate its effectiveness and make adjustments as needed.
Before you execute a change, consider the initial preparation that could help you maximize adoption and design a training program that will empower your team to succeed and grow. If you have additional questions or want to further discuss change management initiatives, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or 484.824.8795.
*In the fall of 2016, we surveyed 30 Fortune 1000 executives from companies ranging in size from 250 to 10,000 employees, and with revenue ranging between $250M to >$5B, to ask them about their organization’s change management practices. More information on this survey is available here.