Impact! A new model for digital change and transformation

Over the last few years I’ve worked with many different change management and communication models. I’ve adapted them and they have undeniably demonstrated real value for the clients I’ve worked with. But there was always something I couldn’t shoehorn in, one essential element that just didn’t seem to fit well enough. While I was at Ignite in London this week I realised what the problem was. I’d been trying to use someone else’s model to deliver the value areas I believed were important. And along the way I’d lost sight of the value of those models themselves because I’d tried to overengineer them. I finally recognised that they are essential elements of the bigger picture I’d been delivering, and it was now time to join the dots.

While I was mulling this over on Wednesday evening, I was thinking about one particular element of the work I do with clients. It’s designed to help them recognise where they want the impact of the work they do to have effect at a much more strategic level. Impact, the word jumped out at me as it’s one I refer back to time and time again. Impact, and the model I’m now developing was there in my head, fully formed and ready to go.

So, what does it mean and how does it work?

Over the coming weeks I’ll be explaining more about IMPACT! and how it works to help transform organisations but for now, here are the bare bones. Please excuse me if it feels a little loose – it is only three days since it arrived!

Before I launch into it though, this is a circular model – ideally you start with I and work your way around to T, starting again at I. But to be honest, it doesn’t really matter where you start because eventually you will have completed the whole thing. So for those of you who are already well down the path of implementing a communication and collaboration suite like Office 365 you are still in good hands.

IMPACT! a new model for digital change and transformation

I is for Insight

One of the things that always felt wrong was the difficulty of getting the right people to have awareness of, understanding and ultimately insight into the issues that were standing in the way of the business moving forwards.

Insight is defined by the Cambridge dictionary as “(the ability to have) a clear, deep, and sometimes sudden understanding of a complicated problem or situation”. It is bigger than awareness and more valuable than understanding, although both of these contribute to it.

Insight comes from having conversations that span topic areas, that encourage participants to recognise that using a digital tool to create change is a million times bigger and more complex than the tool itself. It also helps prepare organisations for the sheer amount of work involved in delivering real value to the organisation over the long term with tools such as Office 365.

M is for Motivation

Motivation helps frame Insight into something more tangible. The Cambridge dictionary defines motivation as “an enthusiasm for doing something [as well] as the need or reason for doing something”.

A recent report by McKinsey reported on how successful digital transformation programmes were. What was surprising that fewer than 16% of those companies surveyed had achieved sustainable digital transformation. When it was broken down by sector, even the tech and digital industries only managed around 25%. The reason, it turned out was that most digital change programmes are driven by the IT team, rather than being driven by the business.

Motivation helps an organisation understand where the impact of the change might be felt at a strategic level. In other words, how will it actually add value to the whole organisation.

It would be fair to say that most purchases of Office 365 are driven by a need to redefine licencing and a desire to move away from locally hosted or locally managed storage. But that isn’t what changes or transforms an organisation.

Transformation only comes when people radically change how they do what they need to do in order to get the job done – and in some cases they may realise the job doesn’t need doing at all, so they are free to focus on something else. The pivotal question at this stage is ‘why?’

This stage then becomes a scene setting that will help measure the implementation of technology in terms of it’s impact at a strategic, team and personal level.

P is for Planning

The planning phase of the model is exactly what it says on the tin. This is where you consider the essential elements of how you are going to package up the implementation.

This stage involves three core areas:

  1. Answering (and implementing) the governance that helps keep your organisation and it’s staff and external partners safe and legal online.
  2. Identifing the knowledge and learning requirements that different stakeholders will need to engage and implement the changes you’re planning.
  3. Overall communications planning.

A is for Action

This is where we see Prosci’s ADKAR model begin to play a part as it frames the engagement with stakeholders from start to finish. If you aren’t familiar with the ADKAR model it’s worth understanding that this is a personal model of change management that helps individuals (and in turn their colleagues and teams) manage the change curve.

  • Awareness
  • Desire
  • Knowledge
  • Ability
  • Reinforcement

Each of these phases is a critical part of the pathway to success, because each builds on the one prior to it. For example, it’s impossible to have desire without being aware of what’s going on; and it’s all very well having knowledge but if you’re really not interested in what’s happening, nothing is going to change.

It will explain more about the ADKAR model over the weeks and months to come as it’s an incredible tool that everyone working with change and transformation really should adopt.

C is for Communication

Unlike the communication that comes in the planning phase, here communication refers to the long term communications that will be managed following your initial implementation. This is a critical step towards the final stage of transformation, because without it transformation isn’t possible.

T is for Transformation

When your initial implementation has been completed and you’ve followed all the steps above you can expect to see transformation. But, there’s a caveat to that statement; what you get may not be what you expect!

It only takes one person to start a revolution; it’s rather like throwing a stone into a pond and watching the ripples bouncing off the sides and each other. The interference patterns they make cannot be anticipated and you may not see all the impacts that arise immediately.

However, you can do much to help gather momentum by enabling a learning culture. In this way, and if done right, your staff will do the heavy lifting for you as they share their own insights, motivation, knowledge and ideas with each other.

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