The types of changes we're seeing from COVID-19 began as a common call to address the threat to our communities and then moved toward addressing the changing needs of our organizations. As our organizations get out from under these immediate responses to the pandemic, how can we equip our people to succeed as we move forward toward our new future state? During such wildly uncertain times, no one has all the answers. But putting our virtual heads together has yielded helpful, actionable insights you can apply right now.
Re-imagining Your Future State
Until about six weeks ago, organizations had different change-related agendas with specific objectives they were working to achieve. But when the pandemic struck, we all shifted to a shared change agenda like never before. While we will continue to share common objectives due to COVID-19, the changes we focus on as organizations will evolve to meet our unique strategic objectives once again.
To illustrate, we have organized today's change challenges into three rings:
Ring 1 changes include society's immediate response to COVID-19. This includes self-isolation, social distancing, hand washing, hygiene, and the emergency response our healthcare professionals are providing to protect the health of society.
Ring 2 changes emerge from Ring 1 changes. These are your organization's response to society's response to COVID-19. For example, after moving toward self-isolation and social distancing, we must then figure out how to equip employees and associates to be amazing remote contributors. How do we enable the necessary communication in ways we hadn't needed before?
Ring 3 changes emerge after we address Ring 2. This is the re-envisioning we must do as an organization. How do we shape ourselves into that new normal we want to achieve? These Ring 3 changes will be the things that help us become who we want to be as we step into our new future state.
During two recent Prosci webinars, we solicited insights from more than two thousand change practitioners about where they were seeing the greatest adoption challenges during the COVID-19 crisis. Two weeks ago, they told us they were working through Ring 1 and Ring 2 changes. Today, many continue to work through Ring 2 changes, with some already shifting toward Ring 3 changes.
After analyzing the data, we identified three, critical Ring 2 change challenges that many organizations must address to enable success when they move on to Ring 3. The quick-start guides below can help you better understand these important changes, along with their restraining forces and ways to overcome them.
1. Help employees excel as remote contributors
Understand the disruptions and other restraining forces that keep employees from adopting key changes while working from home, along with ways you can mitigate those forces.
2. Help employees seamlessly shift energy, time and mind share as nimble contributors
Enable employees to overcome the fear, stress and other issues that are keeping them from quickly adopting the new ways you need them to work as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
3. Help change practitioners mobilize a virtual change agent network
Learn how change practitioners are successfully addressing a lack of adequate sponsorship, working in crisis mode, and other restraining forces during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ready to help your organization address these critical, Ring 2 changes?
Lessons From all of Us
Because the future is so uncertain, relying solely on past assumptions could waste valuable time and resources, and potentially lead you down the wrong path. ADKAR is still the easiest, most effective way to lead change. But the most useful insights for applying ADKAR to your organization's evolving changes could come from unexpected sources. To find the best solutions, remember that creativity is essential during times of crisis—and that none of us is as smart as all of us.
Tim Creasey is Prosci’s Chief Innovation Officer and a globally recognized leader in change management. His work forms the foundation of the largest body of knowledge in the world on managing the people side of change to deliver organizational results.