In our last Organizational Change Management (OCM) blog post, we began our breakdown of the individual elements of Prosci’s ADKAR Model, which supports the process of individual change, starting with the first “A,” Awareness.
Just about everyone can recount a childhood episode when they were confronted with what seemed to them to be a forced change in their lives: a trip to the dentist, the first day at a new school, piano lessons. In all likelihood, those changes were met with something ranging from resigned acceptance – “I’ll do it, but I’m going to hate every minute of it!” – to vocal resistance – “There is no way I’m doing that!”
This is human nature and no matter how far removed we are from childhood, that same resistance to change endures into and throughout our adult working lives. Prosci’s change methodology recognizes and addresses this in the second element of its ADKAR change journey: Desire.
We can do a completely thorough job of informing stakeholders about a given change, but if we don’t present that change on a personal level and show each stakeholder why it’s in their interest to buy in and adopt the change, our efforts will fall short.
Ultimately, the choice to accept and adopt a change is a personal one, and every individual in the workplace will likely factor different considerations into whether to engage with and support the change and actively participate in pushing the organization forward.
To tap into that desire, an effective change management approach needs to break change down to a personal level and demonstrate what’s in it for each individual stakeholder. What does each have to gain by supporting the change? What do they have to lose by not supporting it? What will they have to invest personally – time, effort, etc. – if they decide to support the change? And what will they get back from it?
When the element of desire is effectively addressed, it facilitates the process of change, speeds adoption, and reduces the possibility that large numbers of employee stakeholders will either tune out or actively resist the change. Without it, organizations risk reduced productivity, higher turnover, and delayed implementation – in short, a change that is never fully transitioned. In today’s environment, no organization can afford to take that risk. This makes addressing desire an essential – if not the most critical – element of any change management strategy.
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