Finding Change Agents: It’s the Critical Part of Change Management

Change. It’s inevitable. Chances are you’re in the middle of a change initiative of some kind in your organization at this very moment.

What’s your attitude towards change? Excitement? Concern? Avoidance? Trepidation?

All of those are valuable and I can guarantee all are felt to one degree or another by every person in your organization.

But change is necessary. We cannot always remain as we are and continue to grow, develop and mature.

Emotions that come with change

So how do we address and, in some cases, overcome these legitimate emotions around change?

Strategy& associates offer an insightful approach in a recent Strategy + Business article:

Skilled change managers, conscious of organizational change management best practices, always make the most of their company’s existing culture. Instead of trying to change the culture itself, they draw emotional energy from it. They tap into the way people already think, behave, work, and feel to provide a boost to the change initiative. To use this emotional energy, leaders must look for the elements of the culture that are aligned to the change, bring them to the foreground, and attract the attention of the people who will be affected by the change.”

Using the emotional energy of your people to direct the change – genius! This is an excellent suggestion to redirect existing energy and channel it into the path needed for change.

Needed: Data on how people think and feel

But there’s a catch: How do you know “the way people already think, behave, work and feel?” And, how do you identify “the elements of the culture that are aligned to change?”

I suggest the best way to uncover this information is through tapping into the frequent positivity moments flowing across your organization.

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Structuring a social recognition program so that anyone can recognize anyone else for demonstrating the structural elements of your company culture (your core values) gives you the opportunity to build a deep database of not only how people behave and work, but also how others think and feel about those behaviors, actions and results.

Structured in the right way, the data from such recognition activity quickly reveals quite interesting patterns of those who consistently rise to the top in several ways. You can see trends in who contributes more outside of their team as compared to those who contribute most within the team, or those who are consistently recognized more for certain core values than others.

Finding the pockets of ongoing change

With this information, and much more, at your fingertips, you can quickly find pockets where the desired change is already occurring or where your champions of the needed change are already carrying your message forward.

Data on your culture in action – that’s the real power of your social recognition program. And the propulsion behind a change initiative.

What kinds of change initiatives have you seen in your career? Which were successful? Which were not? What was different for those that achieved success?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at irvine@globoforce.com.

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