Business Champions. Change Agents. Product Champions. Superusers. Powerusers. These labels are commonly thrown around most organisations when something is rolled out. For example, a ‘Product Champion’ for Microsoft Teams! The Business Champions for a new HR system! But who are these people? Are they needed? How are they chosen? Why do they exist? What should their input be? My blog this month talks about just that. If you’re indulging in a business change of some sort, these people are absolutely key. Read on to find out why, and exactly how you can pick them, harness their power, and revel in their influence as a unit!
When your business is rolling something out, whether it’s some new technology or a new way of working, one of the main change management ‘rules of thumb’ is to have a group of people that are the absolute ambassadors for that project – the people in the know about what’s happening, why, how etc. They are often called Change Champions (or something to that effect), and they really are one of the main vices you can use to embed a change successfully. Glance over my following tips based on past experiences of what to do (and not to do), to achieve maximum success.
- Define their roles and responsibilities clearly
It’s simple! Clarify exactly what you need them to do. How often will they need to meet? How much do they need to know? How much training do they need to take? Writing a mini ‘role profile’ to outline what is (and isn’t) needed makes the role more digestible for the champions and sets out clearly their part to play. Remember to also articulate time commitments up front here too.
- Arm them with insight
Your change champions will be the perfect people to leverage for disseminating communications. But they’ll also be faced with questions from their peers. Prepare them for this! Putting together an FAQs sheet just for them is a very handy hint, plus project timelines, key stakeholders etc. The more information they are armed with, the more likely they are to communicate about it, and provide meaningful insight for others.
- Put them in the driving seat
It is proven that change is less scary when you are driving it. To get their real buy-in for your project, you can’t rely on listing a number of benefits of your project and expect them to memorize and regurgitate them to everyone they come across. Get them involved in the build and structure of your project. For example – benefits mapping. Can you run a workshop with them to map out all the benefits for themselves and others that will be realized from your project? Ask them for their guidance on how/when the project will be rolled out – they’ll feel more in the driving seat and an integral part of the team. With such power comes engagement and buy-in – and they’ll be more likely to talk about their new venture and responsibilities with their peers.
- Incentives, incentives, incentives.
Prizes for the Champion who posts the most updates about the project! Who can get the most likes and comments on their posts? Whose team can use the new product the most (can you check adoption statistics here?)? Healthy competition can only every be a good thing.
- Round up the right ones…
You need the change to stick, and for that you need to choose wisely. The easy route would be to work with the people who are most likely to accept the change and be positive about it. However, sometimes it’s best to work with the biggest vocal resistors, as people tend to take note of them. Once people see that they’re on board, it must be an exciting change! The other aspect to consider is involving people at all levels. A mixture of managers, juniors, seniors, departments, locations etc. is paramount for spreading the messages to people of all levels, in all settings.
A stream of constant engagement is needed to make sure they’re always in the loop. And once the change has been implemented – keep up the momentum! Providing them with a framework for constant communications is really needed for embedding a change after go-live. Don’t forget about them – and thank them for being so instrumental in helping to change and shape their organisation!
Speak to our team of change managers for support on how to build your own network – let us do it for you.