In IT, we often conduct training when processes change or new systems are introduced. We gather everyone in a room to review the new information. When the training is over, people go back to their desk. Only a small portion of those attending the training review the material again.
What was the outcome of the training?
Those that attended training appeared excited and engaged during the actual training session. They seemed to understand what was required to be successful. Unfortunately, little action has occurred since the training. They haven’t followed up or changed their process as expected.
Skill vs. Will
In organizational development, there is a concept called “Skill vs. Will”. The team may have the skills to do the job effectively. They can complete the process or use the new tool but are they willing to make the change? It isn’t as simple as just telling people to change. If only it were that easy!
To affectively address the “will” aspect of change, we need to address how they are feeling about the change. We need their buy in regarding the new/changed process or tool. We need to instill a desire to achieve the intended outcome.
5 Techniques for Addressing the Willingness to Change
1.) Explain why the changes are important to the overall organization and the division. We are often so involved with implementation that we forget to explain ‘why’ the change is happening.
2.) Set clear goals and objectives. Be concise about expectations and outcomes. Associate clear metrics with each goal and objective.
3.) When appropriate, incentivize employees to make the change. While bonuses or salary increases are nice, incentives come in many different forms.
4.) Empower employees to make adjustments during the initial implementation provided they initiate follow up discussions regarding why the adjustment was necessary. It is important that the employee can be successful in their role. If they need to do something slightly different in order to be successful, it is okay. It is important to evaluate the adjustment to see if additional process or system changes are necessary.
5.) Gather baseline metrics regarding performance prior to the change. Publicize the initial metrics. Upon implementation of the change, routinely evaluate and publicize metrics regarding performance.
If your team has the skills to make the changes but they just aren’t taking action, consider if they are ‘willing’ to make the change. Do they actually buy into the changes that are occurring? It may be time to evaluate their skill vs. will and take action.
At AdOPT, we are transformation consultants focused on IT strategy, innovation, process, and culture change to improve efficiency, increase effectiveness, and optimize costs. We wrote the book on organizational change for IT. For more information, contact us at 520-591-2427 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.