ADKAR– one of the most-used words when it comes to change. So, what is ADKAR? ADKAR is a model for change in business, government, and community developed in 2003 by Jeff Hiatt. ADKAR stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. In order to implement change, every person that’s influenced by the change needs to go through the 5 stages of ADKAR to accept the impending change.
Remember the three states of change (introduced in Part 1): existence, transition and future-state. We can also align them with the following: preparing for change, managing change and reinforcing change.
Preparing for Change
In preparation for change, first we need to prepare the main stakeholders for change before we can prepare the organization. This is where the Office 365 road map (see Part I) plays the crucial role. Pivotal to the change process is understanding what we want to achieve (Value Scenarios), why now, and what success will look like (KPIs and Success Measures), as well as how we will prove our success. We have already designated an executive sponsor (from Business/IT) and established a sponsorship coalition. In other words, we have the buy-in and support from the organizational leadership to proceed with the change. We’ve looked at the organizational readiness and assessed the risk.
Where do we go next? Implementation of this new technology will impact people and the way they work. So, the next step is the end users– the people who will use this new technology.
In order to gain buy-in from the organization, we need help. This will come in the form of champions and advocate networks. To build a championship community, we need to look for people from the business and IT side that are social, like to solve problems, and are comfortable challenging the status quo. Advocates are one of the most important influencers of adoption and, later, reinforcement. Who are they, you ask? They are your mid-management people. They will be crucial in moving you forward in the right direction.
Both groups need to be equipped with the right tools to help at the right moment with the right knowledge. If you were following carefully, you can see the pattern of ADKAR showing up. It started with buy-in from the leadership, mid-management and champions. You must go through Awareness and Desire in order to have them on your side.
Value scenarios were set during the Office 365 strategy roadmap, but how we will support them? It’s time to define personas, groups of people in your organization that have the same way of working, and the same wants and needs from the tools. Understanding how people work today, their pain points and what success looks like for them lets you start aligning value scenarios with apps within O365 (with Teams being the center of it all), personas, persona journeys and use case scenarios (processes and the way people work today). This will allow you to see how you will be successful and how each component of this chain will directly impact organizational business goals and objectives.
Now that you understand your audiences, you are ready to prepare adoption, communication and training plans. Keep ADKAR front and center when building these plans.
The timing is now perfect to start raising awareness within the whole organization. This phase can be so much fun, especially since it can be used as a part of the overall culture change initiative. I am not saying you need to do a whole marketing branded campaign, but it certainly can’t hurt. This will depend on the organizational culture, budgets and time frame that you are working with. Why are you doing this? You want to get as much buy-in as possible from the whole organization and while gaining momentum and minimizing resistance later. WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) will be important in all communications. And, don’t forget your message needs to be communicated 5-7 times through a different communication vehicle (sending 5 emails will not help you but more over can hurt your adoption process).
It’s important to note that during the awareness campaign you make sure to answer WIIFM (What’s in it for me?). This will be on the mind of every employee affected by change in the organization. It’s good that we have all this ready, because during our planning, we found out where the pain points are and how the new technology will help eliminate them. Make sure that the desire for change remains high with champions and advocates by checking in with them regularly, as well as offering them the right amount of training and support as you plan in the program. Having a coaching plan in place for the executive sponsor will go a long way.
While going though deployment of Teams, it’s important to start with the “Pilot” or the first wave of the end users to create a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). It’s crucial to choose the right group of people. Some organizations choose champions as the first wave of users. I don’t agree with this approach, simply because champions are here to support the change and end users. They are trained before the rest of the organization. First wave or “Pilot” users should be a group of people that naturally work together and will be able to use Teams functionalities in a natural way. This way, they would naturally use the new technology to support the way they already work.
Training will be critical in providing people with the ability to change and adopt Teams. As a part of the training plan, we looked at the company culture, learned how people like to work, what worked in the past and what did not. I am a strong believer that training should be fun and combine videos, interactive training sessions and, of course, gamification. Creating training as a game helps end users go through the training in a more fun way. Friendly competition, visible score cards (part of the 4DX methodology), trophies and awards will help tremendously in the adoption of Teams in a short period of time. Your goal is to get people using Teams’ general functionalities first before training them to be more proficient with the tool. Training, as well, needs to be designed with levels so that over time, you get everyone at the highest proficiency level as needed. When training is designed correctly, you can start seeing positive impacts on your goals and objectives by reporting on KPIs and success measures as people go through the training. ROI becomes visible from the beginning.
Training will be critical in providing the ability for the end users to change. However, it’s not enough. The greatest support in raising ability will come from the champions and advocates community (a visible executive sponsor is a must). Supporting end users while transitioning is one of the most important phases in the adoption process. Having a resistance plan will be very useful at this stage, as people are gaining new knowledge and starting to interact with the new technology and tools. There are different ways for both communities to help support end users and guide the change. Materials and activities are developed by, and are part of, the champions program that you already established prior to moving into the transition period. The resistance plan will have activities and tasks that will help manage resistance on the path to successful adoption.
In Part III of this blog series, I will be talking about reinforcement of change as the last step in ADKAR. The 21/90 rule will give us an evidence-based view on the time frame for successful adoption and change.
About the Author
Olya Bogoyevich leads the Digital Business Solutions practice where she guides clients to get the best value for their business objectives with cloud technology. She is passionate about supporting clients through the Business Change journey and application of appropriate Change Management Programs. When not working and solving business puzzles, she helps her kids with homework, sings with her two budgies, or goes for a run with her Frenchie bulldog.