06/16/2020

BY MICHAEL MURPH, ANALYST

Take a moment and ask yourself—how do you deal with change?

For me, change has never come relatively easy. Whether it is a routine, diet, or schedule adjustment, change always comes with its challenges.

A Caucasian male folding his arms while smiling out of an office windowSimilarly, for a large group of people or a corporation, change takes patience and persistence.

The world we live in is constantly changing—whether we like to acknowledge this or not. This fact forces us to prepare, keep up with moving targets, and adapt, otherwise we are susceptible to falling behind.

Change is important for an organization’s growth—a catalyst for employees to learn new skills and explore new opportunities. It helps improve the organization’s current state and drives a better plan of action for an organization’s future state.

But… “We’re too busy!”

A common trend among many organizations is that they are “too busy” to change.

For some companies, the busyness of day-to-day activities is not what holds them back from change, but a fear of the unknown. This fear can be especially prevalent in today’s business settings where most change is centered around technology.

If a business hesitates to change, this signals to me that it may not have access to the adequate tools and techniques needed to adopt the change.

Oftentimes, an outside perspective can be useful when identifying the impending impacts of a small or large change.

Change is important for an organization’s growth—a catalyst for employees to learn new skills and explore new opportunities.

A Use Case for Change Management

Recently, I had the opportunity to help facilitate Organizational Change Management activities for an Office 365 Migration.

Office 365 is a Microsoft service that includes access to Office applications and online productivity services, providing:

  • Business-class email, calendars, and contacts
  • Online meetings and instant messaging
  • Cloud-based storage
  • Ability to share and collaborate on files from anywhere

Our client, a large corporation made up of over 6,000 employees with locations spread across 8 states, was about to face an enterprise-wide transition from Microsoft Office to Office 365.

The goal of this transition was to improve company-wide collaboration through a centralized hub, increase productivity through customization, and establish the ease of a remote workforce. Our task was to identify the impacts and ensure the changes were fully adopted to improve the daily work experience for all employees.

A Caucasian male and Caucasian female sitting in office chairs on laptops

Keys to Change Management Success

There were a number of change management tactics that led to the success of this Office 365 migration.

If you are implementing change within your own organization, here are a few key takeaways to keep in mind:

Identify Change Champions – “Change Champions” are a network of employees that can effectively communicate and lead through the impact of the change. Gain buy-in from Change Champions and allow them to promote the change to increase adoption.

Establish Adoption Metrics – Ensure there is a way to measure adoption before the change takes place and then after the change is implemented. Having data-driven results to measure success helps leaders of an organization see the overall impact of the change.

Prepare to Pilot & Pivot – As the first person or group to experience change, be prepared to switch direction and adjust focus many times. It is important to maintain composure during this time and use your learning experiences to your advantage.

Implement Servant Based Leadership – Listen carefully to the needs of the end users and those who are experiencing tangible change in their daily work. Providing hands-on training can be greatly impactful during a change.

Eat Your Own Dog Food – Gain credibility by struggling, learning, and experiencing all changes firsthand. It is important to practice what you preach by experiencing potential pitfalls firsthand and demonstrating to others that change is attainable. As a first adopter of the Office 365 tools and living out the end user experience, having the willingness to make mistakes for each employees’ benefit allowed for successful training, lessons learned, and ultimately embrace of change.

The Office 365 migration was implemented late last year to help improve a myriad of daily tasks. One unforeseen benefit of tackling this change head-on instead of pushing it off was that it helped our client transition to a remote workforce which has ensured successful business continuity in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization was able to pivot more successfully due to their willingness to change.

The benefits of change are not always seen in the moment, but with an ever-evolving market, it is important to keep a forward-thinking mindset to stay ahead of the curve. Change can be difficult to adopt, but corporations who are willing to embrace the change will ultimately stand the test of time.

It’s time to ask yourself… are you ready to change?

The benefits of change are not always seen in the moment, but with an ever-evolving market, it is important to keep a forward-thinking mindset to stay ahead of the curve.

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