Engage your stakeholders as we reach the middle of the year
As we approach the half-way mark through they year, many of us look back and think of the progress, challenges or triumphs that have made up the year so far. As change managers, now is our time to shine a spotlight on all of the effort, progress and actions that have moved our organizations from a vision of the future to actual reality!
In the course of implementing change programs, our employee’s view of progress can be clouded by the myriad of decisions, workshops, deliverables and documentation required. Many become fixated on a magic, often distant ‘go live’ date without understanding that the people transition starts well before and continues long after this date.
As we hit the middle of the year, here's four key ways to celebrate the progress of your change programs with your stakeholders.
1. Celebrate the progress made so far this year
Progress represents an incremental step towards achieving change and is a powerful motivator that will many people committed to a cause. Take a moment to highlight and celebrate these ‘progress steps’ with your business. In addition to your typical program milestones, what are the signs that people are progressively becoming more aware, interested, educated or taking greater ownership of the new ways of working? This will vary between organizations however some examples may be:
- Decline in number of quality related complaints from customers
- Number of people to access and contribute to your programs internal social media page
- Key decisions made by our business leaders about the changes
- Volume of employee effort in change design / implementation activities
2. Turn your attention to the 2nd half of the year
The middle of the year is a good time to encourage personal and professional reflection. Your stakeholders will range in their level of pessimism or optimism about a change program based on the level of progress and support experienced so far this year. Turning attention towards the remainder of the year ahead can help solidify support or build confidence by focusing on:
- Alignment of the change program to the full-year's business strategic plan
- The priorities and deliverables required from the change program
- The level of support from the changes from the leadership team
This can be a particularly useful tactic if there has been unsteady progress or ambiguity in your change program or if it is a relatively new change initiative.
3. Ask your influential stakeholders to share their reflections and insights
The year-to-date personal insights of influential stakeholders can be a very engaging communication technique. Remember that your ‘influencers’ are not always those that sit at the top of your organizational chart. They could be your long serving team member who is held in high regard by the team or an assigned ‘subject matter expert’ from the team who has been working closely on the change. With regards to your change program, ask these individuals to share:
- What has been their greatest success or challenge in achieving change so far this year?
- What are they most proud of?
- What do they feel will be the greatest benefit from these change?
4. Don't forget to thank your change supporters!
Change Managers and Leaders rely on a wide network of people to provide their commitment and action to make change happen. Personal recognition will influence a person’s willingness to personally support a change program. The end of the year provides an opportunity recognise people who have helped your change effort. This can be achieved in a number of ways:
- Provide your sponsor, change leaders and peers with thank you e-cards to share with their greatest supporters
- Ask your program sponsor to communicate a thank you message
- #thankyou campaign on your internal social media to encourage recognition of effort
Remember that every time you connect with your employees about your change program it is an opportunity to influence their perceptions and inspire a new way of thinking about the future. The power of acknowledging individual contributions can be a powerful gesture and motivating force as the team focuses on making change happen throughout the rest of the year!
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