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Organizational Change Management

4 Key Steps in Driving Behavior Change

This blog series examines how change management can and should pay for your next project. My previous post, I discussed how behavior change leads to value. In this post I dive into the steps to develop behavior change.

Changing behavior starts with defining value and identifying the key performance indicators (KPIs) that can tell stakeholders if they are successful or not. KPI identification provides metrics that are a product of behavior and leading indicators of success. Next, executives must identify the organizational units that have the most impact on transformation and identify the top two or three behaviors that will drive value acceleration.

With those behaviors identified, the organization needs to conduct a voice of the employee (VOE) analysis to identify variables that may promote or impede behavior change. This is critical since most employees resist the new behaviors that transformations require. The VOE analysis can address this resistance by identifying barriers to performance and performance enablers. Often, this alone can produce rapid behavior change and accelerate value. Moreover, behavior change and associated value acceleration can accrue by influencing other levers of behavior change simultaneously.

An effective VOE analysis can also help leaders come up with a successful design for the transformation initiative. It is at the design phase that change management needs to begin, regardless of whether the transformation involves IT, process, structure, or a combination of these. After all, once the transformation is implemented, employees will be left to live with the design. Therefore, leaders need to design the initiative in ways that ensure the new or changed process steps and tools are conducive to end-user adoption. This can dramatically reduce resistance and accelerate value. An initial transformation design that incorporates a VOE also contributes to the initiative’s sustainability.

If the transformation requires significant IT and process changes, the organization can accelerate value by implementing process changes before the IT implementation, rather than doing the two things concurrently.

There are two distinct advantages to this. First, implementing better processes can be directly tied to value, assuming that the organization has identified the relevant KPIs. For longer-term IT transformations, the ability to show significant value accrual before IT implementation provides project momentum and significantly increases leadership support. Secondly, implementing processes that are more in line with the IT-enabled future state significantly improves adoption upon implementation, and sustainability after that.

There are many ways in which these behaviors described above reinforce each other and hasten the behavior changes that can accelerate an initiative’s success. For example, faster-than-expected payback in one part of the transformation – perhaps through a streamlined process or a change in IT – can encourage company leadership to become even more active in supporting the initiative. That, in turn, can spark employees to redouble their efforts on the areas having a positive impact. And the KPIs that emerge can become a scoreboard on which employees measure their progress – or see the extent to which they’re falling behind.

For more insight on how OCM can (and should) pay for your next project, download our guide here or below.

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Scott Watson

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