Who has ever been involved in an organizational transformation? If you have, you are likely to have witnessed the destructive power of resistance to change. Here’s how we approach this.
For example, employees that become defiant because they are pushed out of their comfort zone too fast. Or managers undermining the transformation process out of fear for their position. This resistance can occur even when communication is clear and a sense of urgency is created.
Change should be applied gradually and in stages. It is not about one big step ahead, but rather a series of smaller steps in well-ordered stages. To this effect, Innovation Booster has developed a model to successfully guide organizations through the transformation of its people and the way they work. This model consists of three levels: Engaged, Educated and Empowered. Each level represents an increasing involvement with, and understanding of the transformation.
The first and least involved level in the transformation is Engaged. Employees that are Engaged are aware that the organization is taking a new direction and have some understanding of what that direction entails. However, they have no knowledge of how they should apply this new direction or way of working in their daily routine.
The second level is the level of Educated employees. They are educated in the sense that they understand and accept their new role and are able to apply any changes to their way of working in practice.
At Innovation Booster we are a firm believer of “learning by doing”. Therefore, moving from engaged to educated is achieved by providing both the right information & tools as well as creating space for employees to put the new way of working into practice. An important aspect here is the coaching of employees by those that are empowered to ensure everyone applies what they learn in the correct way. Failure is encouraged, but only if you learn the proper lessons from it.
This brings us to the final level, Empowered. Empowered employees not only know and can apply the transformation, moreover they are able to teach other employees and make them excited about this new way of working. Empowered employees are vital to the closing of the feedback loop as they drive the engagement and education of others. Empowered employees do not come into existence on their own. They too require extensive training and coaching before being able to take on the responsibility of fueling the transformation.
Why you need a good balance between the three different levels
Reaching each subsequent level requires an increasing amount of effort, resources and commitment, both from the organization as well as its employees. Fortunately, not all employees need to become empowered, or even educated. Consider the comparison to a football club:
|Fans||Understand the game and cheer on the team||Engaged|
|Players||Know how to play and do everything in their power to be successful||Educated|
|Coach||Understands the bigger picture and knows what the players need to get the best out of them||Empowered|
Everyone plays a crucial role in the success of the team, even though they cannot perform each other’s role and, more importantly, it is not a given that everyone can grow into the next role. As a matter fact, it is unlikely that every employee wishes to. But that is alright, because they are all valuable to the team in their own way. Finding the right balance in terms of how many employees take on each role happens over time and is driven by the direction of the transformation.
This sustainability of the transformation is depicted in the Excitement Curve below. This curve demonstrates the growing support from employees concerning the transformation over time. Once the core group is established, i.e. once all three levels are represented within the organization, they are able to gather support from employees through the celebration of both successes and failures, fueling excitement
To summarize, the transformation model allows for the gradual application of change within an organization by raising employees to one of three levels, each with its own responsibilities concerning the transformation.