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5 Best Practices Critical to Transition from an In-Office to Remote Work Setting

27 Dec

COVID-19 has forced organizations to adapt to the new norm of Remote Work.  Many people consider telecommuting as the future of work.  Employers who allow Remote Work have seen enhanced employee morale, output, and efficiency.

However, Remote Work setting is far from business as usual.  Management needs to understand and manage the intricate differences between in-office and remote teams.  To make Remote Work successful and to manage remote teams, leadership needs to follow 5 guiding principles:

  • Assemble a group of people— skilled in Remote Work setting—to supervise and support other employees to work remotely, assess any challenges, and create workable solutions in real time.
  • Develop and share (across the organization) a comprehensive reference guide—e.g., a repository, manual, or a web page—documenting exhaustive information on process changes. This will keep all stakeholders informed and prevent any uncertainties.
  • Communicate with the employees transparently and frequently, foster informal communication, and provide easily accessible video conference facilities for people to adjust to and incorporate change.
  • Keep the number of tools to handle documentation and communication to a minimum.
  • Manage the Remote Workforce by establishing candid, ongoing communication channels, trust, and shared objectives. Transition from an in-office setup to a remote environment takes time.

Likewise, remote employees need to follow certain guiding principles to undertake their responsibilities effectively and deliver on their tasks efficiently.

  • Establish a dedicated workspace.
  • Make their families understand the significance of their work—that they perform from their virtual offices—and respect their work hours.
  • Set alarms to remind when to take a break or end work, so as to work in a healthy routine. Use breaks to recharge your brain or to do errands.
  • Communicate informally with your team.
  • Try out unconventional workdays and routines that work best for you.
  • Adopt this transition

Conventional on-site work settings have clearly defined processes, team structures, interactions, and Organizational Culture, which are lacking in most virtual environments.  The transition from on-site work to work-from-anywhere demands concrete steps to make it viable.  It is critical to adopt Virtual Work mindset and best practices since every organization today, in one way or another, is a virtual company—e.g., global operations, sites and offices across different locations.

This necessitates dedicated efforts to nurture and promote a virtual-work focus and Culture, rather than managing Remote Work with a traditional mindset.  Organizations need to incorporate these 5 best practices to make the transition from conventional to work-from-anywhere environment smoother.

  1. Document everything
  2. Have more structured meetings
  3. Align values with expectations
  4. Create ergonomic home offices
  5. Adopt a self-learning mentality

Let’s delve deeper into these best practices.

Document everything

In office settings, people can run into other colleagues easily to ask queries or just to communicate with them.  This is at times disturbing and counterproductive.  Work-from-anywhere environment demands documenting every critical piece of information, creating guidelines and manuals, and implementing documentation best practices.   This facilitates in:

  • Creating a reliable, primary source of information for everyone to seek answers to their queries.
  • Building successful Virtual Work environment.
  • Clearly outlining organizational objectives.
  • Visualization and clarity of teams’ collective goals and performance results.
  • Orientation of new hires by providing answers to everything that comes to their minds.
  • Offering more inclusivity, as the information is not confined only to the ones present at the physical water cooler, but is available for the entire organization.
  • Precluding a sense of exclusion in the ones who are not part of a physical office.
  • Gathering more diverse ideas.

A handbook culture is even better than “water coolers”—as it saves time by eliminating the need to bother other teammates and ask questions from them.  It enables learning, finding answers or information more readily, and curtailing rework arising out of gathering and updating information over and over again.  Documenting everything instills a sense of ownership, courtesy, and concern for others in virtual teams.

Interested in learning more about the other best practices to transition from in-office to work-from-anywhere environment?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on how to transition from In-Office to Virtual Work Setting here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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How to Understand Consumer Behavior and Undertake Behavioral Transformation? Appreciate the 3 Bs of Behavioral Change

29 Nov

Product managers, marketers, and designers are often confused as to what they should do to increase the chances of customers’ engagement and uptake of their offering.  Changing individuals’ behavior to enhance engagement, productivity, innovation, and happiness isn’t straightforward.

It takes a lot of effort, time, and resources to execute initiatives aimed at transforming behaviors and Organizational Culture.  However, most people aren’t interested in changing and like the status quo to prevail.  This is where Behavioral Economics can help to know how customers behave, interpret their decision-making methods, and create solutions targeting those behaviors.

Product designers and marketers aspiring to drive acceptance of their products can make use of the 3 Bs of Behavioral Change to change understand consumer behavior. The 3 Bs of Behavioral Change classify the 3 elements essential to change behaviors, i.e.:

  1. Behavior
  2. Barriers
  3. Benefits

Understanding and employing these 3 Bs helps the designers and product managers instill change, inspire design and strategy-related decisions, increase the acceptance of new products / features and product engagement levels, and build new behaviors in people.

Let’s discuss the first 2 elements in detail.

Behavior

People have an inherent tendency to maintain the status quo.  Behavioral change necessitates:

  • Identifying individuals’ existing attitudes.
  • Assessing and tackling psychological biases affecting individuals’ decisions.
  • Carefully tracking behaviors that need to be changed.
  • Ascertaining the most important desired behavior and exact action that is imperative to drive results.
  • Getting the buy-in from all stakeholders on the key behavior.
  • Deciding if the behavior should be permanent or transient.

Examples of key actions to change behaviors include spending 30 minutes thrice weekly doing cardio exercises and consuming salad at lunch daily to stay healthy.

Barriers

Understanding the barriers in behavior adoption assists in creating effective solutions to improve uptake of key behavior.  The second step to induce behavioral change is to reduce barriers in its adoption.

  • Every decision that a product user has to make, no matter how negligible, increases resistance in the likelihood of completing a specific behavior.
  • These actions and decisions, that an individual has to take in order to achieve the desired behavior, create points of friction in embracing key behaviors.  For instance, people often find it difficult to decide when presented with complex choices. They tend to procrastinate or become a victim of decision paralysis.
  • Removing the points of friction and resistance from any key behavior necessitates documenting and streamlining all decisions. The path of least resistance leads to desired key behaviors.

Examples of barriers include the thought process involved in the decision to select where to have dinner.  This thought process is, in fact, a psychological barrier in actually going out and having dinner.  Likewise, the decision to walk or drive to a restaurant is a logistical barrier and a point of friction that warrants making a decision.

To eliminate these barriers, we can either remove barriers entirely or just simplify the decision.  For instance, elimination of a non-critical, open text field from a sign-up form—that probed the users about their business, which requires significant time to think and answer—can increase page-over-page conversion.  In case choices are helpful for the users and cannot be eliminated, then it is best to simplify the decision process by giving fewer options instead of many, or by suggesting “recommended option” to the users.

Interested in learning more about the details of the 3 Bs of Behavioral Change?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on 3 Bs of Behavioral Change here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a Management Consultant?

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Digital Facilitation – Embrace the Future Work Environment

12 Sep

Stock Image 2 - Digital Facilitation Primer

In the wake of global pandemics when meeting face to face is not possible, it’s about facilitating workshops digitally, designing a formal agenda, and utilizing digital tools to ensure a productive virtual meeting.  Digital Collaboration Platforms have been pivotal in the current scenario.

As a matter of fact, Digital Collaboration platforms have become a new norm and have forever transformed business work environment.  Digital Facilitation tools are extensively used by facilitators, Change Management consultants, Organizational Development practitioners, and learning professionals as a way to collaborate on workshops, events, change initiatives, and learning programs.

Digital Workshop Facilitation can be categorized into the following 3 major types:

  • Virtual Facilitation

In this type of Digital Facilitation, a group collaborates remotely in real time but from different locations.  Common tools used are Zoom, GoToMeeting etc.

  • Asynchronous Facilitation

In this facilitation method, a facilitator leads participants remotely at a different time and place. Common tools include Email, Slack etc.

  • Face-to-Face Facilitation

In Face-to-Face facilitation, a facilitator interacts with a group of people in the same workshop space, in person.  Digital tools can be used in such a setup instead of flip charts and sticky notes.

The new scenario brings forth new challenges in workshop facilitation that necessitate robust principles, methods, and tools for the future work environment to run smoothly.  Understanding and adhering to the following best practices and principles in Digital Workshop Facilitation helps in attaining effective results just like face-to-face workshops:

  1. Specify well-defined guidelines and expectations.
  2. Form an assured environment to enable discourse.
  3. Ensure effective interaction before, during, and after a workshop.
  4. Ensure all voices are heard.
  5. Document the conversations.
  6. Alter the moderation approach based on the participants’ level of understanding.
  7. Seek comments and iterate.

Let us delve a little deeper into some of the principles:

1. Specify well-defined guidelines and expectations.

The remote nature of digital workshops limits the element of reacting to audience’s lack of attention.  This warrants clear instructions regarding ground rules, both in writing and orally to compensate for this disadvantage.  Participants need to use precise language in asking questions and answering them.

Instructions on technology and tools usage should be reiterated from time to time.

2. Form an assured environment to enable discourse.

Trusting participants in a virtual setting is difficult if you do not know them.  It is the digital facilitator’s job to create conversation security in different ways.  Spending time on icebreakers or other pre-engagement activities may ease the discomfort.  Providing quick and positive feedback to those who actively contribute encourages shy participants and creates a positive environment.  Informing the participants on how meetings are being documented and information on who has access to this documentation can reassure participants.

3. Ensure effective interaction before, during, and after a workshop.

Digital Facilitation platform can be used ahead of a meeting to help participants familiarize with each other, disseminate the agenda, initiate discussions, or obtain helpful information from the participants, such as questions, skill levels, ideas, etc.  Digital Collaboration Platform should be the center of post-workshop activities, e.g., sharing documents, closing agendas, answering additional queries, and extended discussions.

4. Ensure all voices are heard.

Digital Workshop tools can facilitate participation of people who in a traditional workshop setup will not be able to participate due to dominance by a few individuals.

Interested in learning more about the Digital Workshop Facilitation principles, methods, and tools? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Virtual Work Digital Facilitation (Primer) here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a Management Consultant?

You can download this and hundreds of other consulting frameworks and consulting training guides from the FlevyPro library.

The Burke-Litwin Change Model: Today’s Most Influential Model on Organizational Change

13 Mar

Organizations are continually searching for innovative ways of enhancing competitiveness. This is brought about by evolving external factors such as changing demographics, globalization, and technology. Because of changing dynamics, it has required managers to rapidly rethink and retool their organizational management strategies.

Coming up with the appropriate strategies calls for an increasing need for organizational diagnosis in developing and maintaining a competitive advantage. Researchers believe that in conducting organizational diagnosis, organizational effectiveness must be viewed from a systems perspective using a multidimensional approach in assessing the factors affecting enterprise performance management.

At this point wherein the role of organizational climate in business performance has become significant, there is a need for a business model that is most influential. To date, the Burke-Litwin Change Model is the best known and most influential model suitable when it comes to organizational climate.

A Quick Look at Burke-Litwin Change Model

The Burke-Litwin Change Model is seen as a conceptual framework that can best describe the relationships between different features of the organization, as well as its context and effectiveness.

According to Burke and Litwin (1992), Change Management models are not meant to be prescriptive. They are meant to provide a means to diagnose, plan, and manage change. Using the Burke-Litwin Change Model will provide organizations an effective diagnostic tool to improve overall organizational performance. It is a useful model for understanding the organizational change process.

The Burke-Litwin Change Model, as a change management tool, assumes 12 organizational elements that determine a change within an organization.

The Burke-Litwin Change Model 12 Drivers

The 12 key drivers of the Burke-Litwin Change Model interact with and affect each other. The change in the 12 key drivers brings about a series of changes in the structure, practices, and the system of the organization.

The 12 key drivers have been organized based on their specific roles within the organization.

Input.

  1. External Environment.  The External Environment is the external influences important fo organizational changes. These are the economy, customer behavior, competition, politics, and legislation.

Throughput: Transformational Drivers. Transformational Drivers are those that make up the fundamental structure of an organization. It relates to the organization as a whole. There are 3 Transformational Drivers.

  1. Mission and Strategy Development
  2. Leadership Development
  3. Corporate Culture

The 3 key drivers have over-riding importance of dealing with a change that is intended to share up “the way things are done around here.”

Throughput: Transactional Drivers

Transactional drivers are drivers that are more easily changed, but rarely have the same kind of impact on organization-wide performance. This concerns daily activities that take place in organizations and their mutual cohesion. There are 7 Transactional Drivers.

  1. Structure
  2. Systems
  3. Management Practices
  4. Work Climate
  5. Task and Individual Skills
  6. Individual Needs and Values
  7. Motivation.

The Transactional Drivers can affect performance.  However, performance can only be long-lasting if these key drivers are aligned. The 7 key drivers are critical in their role of supporting the change process.

 Output

Individual and Organizational Performance is the 12th key driver. It is the outcome of the change.

The 12th Key Driver: The Individual and Organizational Performance

The only thing that is constant is change. As output changes, so does the input and the factors of change. Individual and Organizational Performance is the measure of the effectiveness of the change. It measures the performance levels of both the individual employee and on the departmental and organizational level.

Individual and Organizational Performance can be measured on the basis of turnover, productivity, quality requirements, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. This is the key driver that impacts on the external environment.

Interested in gaining more understanding of the Burke-Litwin Change Model? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about the Burke-Litwin Change Model here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a management consultant?

You can download this and hundreds of other consulting frameworks and consulting training guides from the FlevyPro library.

The 8 Most Critical Levers to Pull to Manage & Sustain Change

28 Oct

Most Transformation initiatives fail to achieve their anticipated objectives.

Change Management is all about engaging and rallying people — at all levels in the organization — to make the transition and sustain that change. It is critical to ensure that the entire workforce is eager and ready to embrace the required new behaviors. More often than not, the technical side of a change initiative is well planned, but it’s the implementation part that fails — particularly, changing the mindsets and behaviors of the entire workforce to enable change to stick.

Managing change is not an occasional affair; it is an iterative process that works on motivating human behavior to accept and adjust to a desired state of mind. The process is naturally evolving as it adapts in accordance with the feedback from the people.

Change Management demands a thorough yet organized approach to enable the “people side” of change to work — essential for accommodating and sustaining Business Transformations. This entails assisting people incorporate new mindsets, processes, policies, practices, and behaviors.

A methodical approach to make the entire workforce accept and support change constitutes 8 critical levers:

  1. Defining the Change
  2. Creating a Shared Need
  3. Developing a Shared Vision
  4. Leading the Change
  5. Engaging and Mobilizing Stakeholders
  6. Creating Accountability
  7. Aligning Systems and Structures
  8. Sustaining the Change
https://flevy.com/browse/flevypro/8-levers-to-change-management-3847

Now, let’s discuss the first 4 levers in detail.

1. Defining the Change

The first step entails outlining the rationale, scope, and results of the change initiative for the enterprise, key departments, and roles. There is a need to define critical elements, including the requirements from the initiative, the execution planning, and the adjustments needed to encourage people to work better.

The project sponsors need to clearly outline the essence of the proposed Transformation initiative, to realistically embed Change Management into the design of the program, and develop effective Change Management plans. An initial baseline of the expected effect of the program on people should be performed. The baseline also helps analyze the impact of the change program — in terms of skills inventory, head-count indications, adjustments in accountabilities and relationships, shifts in incentives and pay structures, and future learning needs.

2. Creating a Shared Need

Once the change and its impact has been delineated, the next thing to do is to create a shared understanding of the rationale for Transformation across the organization. To create a shared need for the Transformation endeavor, the change sponsor needs to build awareness of the necessity for change amongst the senior team, key stakeholders, and the entire organization; demonstrate to the people the benefits of change; and set up a feedback mechanism across the organization. The alignment afforded by developing a shared need for change helps build a strong footing for Transformation.

3. Developing a Shared Vision

An essential element of implementing transformation entails delineating a clear vision that outlines critical actions and the anticipated outcomes. It helps in encouraging and involving the workforce in the Transformation initiative, giving them a sense of purpose by becoming a part of something bigger. The vision of the organization after Transformation should be coherent with the company values and mission.

4. Leading the Change

This lever entails developing change leadership and implementation skills needed to drive and enable sustainable change. Engagement and commitment of senior leaders is essential for leading change. They are responsible for planning their and the entire workforce’s actions, demonstrating or role modeling the new mindsets and actions, designating program sponsors — e.g., business unit leaders who are enthusiastic about the Transformation initiative and also act as change agents — motivating others to support transformation, and setting up a road map for the change leaders to steer the organization to achieve the anticipated performance milestones.

Interested in learning more about these levers to Change Management? You can download an editable PowerPoint on 8 Levers to Change Management here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Nudge Theory: An Effective Way to Transform Negative Behaviors

24 Oct

Changing the behaviors of people is the foremost issue with every transformation initiative.

Nudge theory is a novel Change Management model that underscores the importance of understanding the way people think, act, and decide. The model assists in encouraging human imagination and decision making, and transforming negative behaviors and influences on people. The approach helps understand and change human behavior, by analyzing, improving, designing, and offering free choices for people, so that their decisions are more likely to produce helpful outcomes for the others and society in general.

Nudge theory helps reform existing (often extremely unhealthy) choices and influences on people. The theory is quite effective in curtailing resistance and conflict resulting from using autocratic ways to change human behavior. The model promotes indirect encouragement and enablement — by designing choices which encourage positive helpful decisions — and avoids direct enforcement. For instance, playing a ‘room-tidying’ game with a child rather than instructing her/him to tidy the room; improving the availability and visibility of litter bins rather than erecting signs with a warning of fines.

Organizations are increasingly using behavioral economics to optimize their employee and client behavior and well-being. Nudge units or behavioral science teams are being set up in the public and corporate sectors to influence people to address pressing issues. For instance, to increase customer retention by changing the language of support center staff to motivate customers to consider long-term benefits of a product; or to make employees to follow safety procedures by placing posters of watching eyes to remind them of the criticality of the measure.

An effective Nudge initiative necessitates much more than deploying a few experts in heuristics and statistics. The senior leadership should lay out a conducive environment for successful behavioral transformation. This entails assisting the Nudge unit to focus, place it appropriately, create awareness, train and de-bias people, implement effective rewards, and follow high ethical standards.

The leadership needs to think about and prepare to tackle 6 key challenges Nudge units face when implementing effective behavioral transformation initiatives:

  1. What should be the focus of the Nudge unit?
  2. Should the Nudge unit be placed at the headquarters or at the business unit level?
  3. Which resources be made part of the Nudge unit?
  4. What are the critical success factors to consider for the unit?
  5. How to communicate the results and early wins?
  6. What should be done to tackle skepticism and resistance to change?
https://flevy.com/browse/flevypro/nudge-theory-key-challenges-3895

Leaders who are able to confront these challenges improve the chances that the unit’s nudges will cause real change in the organization and in its productivity.

Let’s, now, dive deeper into the first 3 key challenges.

What should be the focus of the Nudge unit?

The foremost action in creating a Nudge team is to clearly spell out the value proposition for the unit. The leadership needs to define the purpose of creating a Nudge unit. They need to clearly outline whether the Nudge team will focus on employees, on customers, or on both. For instance, the purpose of its creation could be to deal with workforce motivation, to make better decisions in boardrooms, to increase the internal capabilities, or to improve the behavior of employees. The focus on customer issues, for example, entails encouraging better pension provision, inculcating behavioral science into the marketing mix, or to analyze the experiences of customers and employees — e.g., in-store service initiatives, digital operations, and HR processes.

Should the Nudge unit be placed at the headquarters or at the business unit level?

The second challenge is to decide where to deploy the Nudge unit. The placement of the Nudge unit depends on the strategic purpose of creating the unit. At some companies, it is housed centrally within the corporate headquarters as a global Nudge operations center; a few have accommodated the unit within the R&D or marketing department; some have benefited by moving the unit away from the corporate center so as to be closer to products and services; whereas other practitioners believe that the customer-focused behavioral science team should sit within the product management domain.

Regardless of where the Nudge unit resides, its flexibility and assimilation with other methods of behavioral change — e.g., cognitive neuroscience, social psychology, and personality-trait science — are critical.

Which resources be made part of the Nudge unit?

Another critical element for the success of the Nudge unit is hiring and deployment of right resources. At the commencement of the program when key capabilities are typically not available in-house, most organizations hire people from the outside for their Nudge units. A few companies have recruited solely from the in-house due to the criticality of institutional knowledge and the long learning curve required to acquire it, whereas some have recruited across different geographies. On average, the unit comprises of 3 to 8 members, however, larger organizations can have more people scattered globally.

The ideal composition of the Nudge team is to include behavioral scientists and specialists in psychology, marketing, and advanced data analytics. The team should include people with the right attitude and abilities — e.g., curiosity, can-do attitude, problem solving, entrepreneurial mindset, ownership, and communication skills.

Interested in learning more about the Nudge Theory? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Nudge Theory: Key Challenges here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a Management Consultant?

You can download this and hundreds of other consulting frameworks and consulting training guides from the FlevyPro library.


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