We’re a Yelp nation and want to hear what our peers think about everything from restaurant reviews to products on Amazon. It is no different at work. Senior leadership rolls out a new project and people want to know what it’s really about. They want to know the dirt and they want to hear it from the peers who they think have an inside perspective.
Research shows that peer opinion can have the greatest impact on perception of technology acceptance (Kim & Kankanhalli, 2009). If peers talk positively about new technology or a technology change, it can reduce resistance and drive adoption by approximately 40 percent. Faith and reason say if it’s true for technology, it’s probably true for other organizational changes as well.
Leveraging a change network of opinion leaders across the organization helps to influence change adoption from within the workforce. Peer opinion leaders provide a credible, trustworthy source of information about a change, can role model what the change looks like, and can share concerns and ideas back to the project.
To build your change agent network look for the individuals with the following attributes.
1. Credible. A respected collaborator among peers with a desire to positively influence others with knowledgeable about the business.
2. Persuasive/ Inspirational. Effective communicator and listener with the ability to grasp, process, and articulate thoughts and ideas in a useful manner openly and effectively at all levels of the organization
3. Willingness/ Openness to new ideas. Embraces learning opportunities and uses knowledge of the organization and how it operates in feedback considerations.
4. Adaptability and Flexibility. Is approachable and collaborative, seeing problems as opportunities to be solved with practical solutions for improvement.
5. Individualized consideration. Able to provide individual coaching and mentoring through tailored explanations to meet others where they are in any moment.
6. Supportive of the change and the organization. Ability and willingness to align behavior with organizational vision, mission, values, goals, needs, and priorities.
Once you have identified your change network, equip them with information to answer colleague’s questions and encourage them to talk at the water cooler as much and as often as they can about the project.
Identifying your change network can be one of the hardest parts. Asking leaders to select individuals to be part of the network introduces bias and can leave you with areas of the organization underrepresented and with little way to ensure you are including the right individuals. In part two, we will explore how you can leverage the partnership of Organizational Change Management with business intelligence and analytics to drive the insights you need to best stand up and run your change network.
To learn more about how Tableau can help with your change initiative, check out our on-demand webinar Leveraging Tableau for Your Change Initiative.
Article by Stacy George, analyst, Business Intelligence & Analytics and Josh Kuhlman, senior analyst, Organizational Change Management. Both Stacy and Josh enjoy helping customers make informed decisions based on data while utilizing change management best practices.