A recent article by Dave Bullard of Oracle Corporation, titled We Are the Champions – Becoming a Successful Change Agent in an Energy Organization, shared insight into the key attributes required for anyone to become an effective change agent. While the headline mentioned an energy industry focus, the content is applicable to all organizations.
For success on a software implementation project, you’ll need two kinds of “change champions.” Pre-implementation change champions put project infrastructure in place, obtain funding, and get the project rolling. Post-implementation change champions focus on end-user adoption and enhanced change management.
The article includes a list of attributes that must be understood for change champions to be successful. While you’ll rarely find all this knowledge within one individual, it’s important that the collective wisdom of your team of change agents includes proficiency in:
- The business processes they will implement;
- The skills required to drive change;
- Political savviness;
- How to incorporate user feedback into your plans and the delivered solution;
- How to sell the value of the implementation to your organization, and;
- Organized project planning and solution configuration to alleviate learning curve pains.
A key takeaway from the article is that effective communication is a vital skill that change agents must develop, and knowing your audience is the first step. Research must be conducted before you’ll be able to deliver on-target answers when you’re asked, “what’s in it for me?” Before you begin outbound communication about planned changes, utilize inbound communication. Ask your stakeholders what’s important to them and listen attentively, then map their existing pain points to your proposed solution. That’s how you’ll convince your organization that change is worth the cost and effort required.
Another takeaway is that fear can be overcome by presenting evidence of success. References from other firms in a similar industry, or that are similar in size or other details, will help convince your decision makers that the proposed solution will yield desired results. Beginning with a pilot project within one division or business unit will minimize disruption across the enterprise, provide helpful lessons learned, and deliver tangible ROI measurements that show the value of expanding change across the entire organization.
Contact Gaea today to learn how we can help you become a change champion in your industry.