It’s the first week of our four-week conversation about the importance of influencers in organizational change management, which has always been difficult to achieve and even more challenging to manage.
Some highlights of the following article
- Social influence is key in generating behavioral change
- Influencers reach significantly more employees than top management
- Identify your hidden influencers who are the real drivers of change and communication
Why do most organizational change management projects fail?
There are a plethora of examples demonstrating the failure of many organizational change initiatives. The increasingly complex operating environment, increased number of external influences and increasingly competitive environment as well as the impact of digitalization requires companies to make swift changes to sustain and survive. Therefore, change is more frequent and more necessary in today’s turbulent business environment.
Are you interested in how Influencer identification and involvement can accelerate change in practice?
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Change has the best chance of succeeding when organizations’ focus on addressing the psychological aspects of change; behavior and culture. Therefore, the key to achieving a successful change is redefining the focus “the new organizational focus is behaviour not processes and systems; those are a given …”.
When trying to understand the behavior in an organization, time needs to be taken to observe the current situation: what behaviors and values spread in networks. Changing and challenging values and behaviors are all part of change management.
Who are the change agents?
Winning over those employees who are most skeptical of any change is imperative, in order to do this, it is necessary to identify the change leaders. These are people who have great influence over others but are not always members of a management team, or holding positions of authority. These are the employees who earned the respect of their colleagues and to whom others go for advice and help. These individuals can be instrumental in communicating messages across an organization and they are key to gaining the support of others.
IF you can identify who these influencers are, then you can utilize their energy, enthusiasm, their connections and their ability to bring others along with them. This influence can increase the organization’s ability to enact successful change. These influencers can increase the chance of success of any change, as the impact on change comes from the influence of employees, not the efficiency and effectiveness of processes or systems.
Influencers are not necessarily who you think they are. Time should be taken to identify the networks in your organization through observing group dynamics, determining who has more peer respect and who has the ear of their colleagues. “Influencers reach significantly more employees than top management”.
What are change agents' role in organizational change management?
If you can identify the change agents and their network, you can utilize them to great effect. They can be the sounding board for concerns. These people are the communicators for strategy and they can be empowered to drive the change forward by bringing along the information in their network. Influencers are key to mobilIzing change with the confidence of their networks. Influencers just need to be identified, encouraged and supported in their role as part of the change process. Their peers trust them, therefore their message is respected, trusted and ultimately followed. In order to make the influencers role possible, empowering them, and communicating with them effectively and efficiently can enhance the likelihood of any change being embraced.
Elect, empower, enhance
Bringing employees along, making them feel empowered is imperative. Allow the influencers to tell the story of why a change is required and communicate what the end objectives are, this can develop an emotional connection and can stimulate interest, the network then mimics the behavior and actions of the influencers. If you can convince the influencer that the change is right, they go on to tell a story that helps the organization enact successful change. Influencers elected by their peers are more committed, motivated and successful, they are more efficient as catalysts for implementing change.
Do you know who your true influencers are? Do you know who has the most significant impact on change initiatives? Are you ready to find out? We are looking forward to hearing from you! Drop us a comment! LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or feel free to reach out to us directly via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next week, we will still be talking about influencer involvement when YOUR thoughts and experiences will be in the spotlight.