Bringing new ideas into your community financial institution can feel exciting. Change is in the air. You’re ready to enhance your retail experience with improved product knowledge, service, and sales skills so that your account holders to feel well-served and your institution grows. But after a little while, your excitement wears off. Everyone slips back into the grooves of “how we’ve always done it.” All the while you know that to reach your goals, you need to effect change on the business side and the people side. And both must be accomplished simultaneously for the change to be successful and lasting.
This see-saw of change momentum is normal for most businesses — back and forth between new and old. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to embrace change and make it a healthy part of your culture. We’re going to explore three strategies that help you do just that.
Guiding change with ADKAR
The first strategy is referred to as ADKAR, a methodology developed by Prosci. The acronym stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement. It was designed to help you navigate your change initiative, giving you a framework for planning, discussing, executing and assessing change within your team.
Identify a business need or opportunity and then make your people aware of the need for change and why it is essential to accomplishing goals.
Seek to identify individual motivators within your team that builds a desire to achieve objectives.
Equip your team with the knowledge (through training) to make the change.
To bridge the gap from knowledge to ability, allow your team to practice the new skills with hands-on- coaching. Mistakes are teachable moments.
Regularly reinforce the purpose, processes, and results that support the change.
When should you use ADKAR?
You might be implementing a new software platform, onboarding a new employee, or merging with another institution. The ADKAR model gives you a framework to understand where you are in the change process so that you know what to do to help your staff transition from one way of operating to another. And research has shown that 93% of objectives are met or exceeded when a strong change management program is in place. ADKAR works the best when you enroll members of your team in advocating for the change and generating enthusiasm for what success looks like and how it will feel. We’ll talk about that next.
“Change roles” help make ADKAR work
Community financial institutions place a high priority on managing risk — it’s how they protect the assets of their account holders. And change can feel very risky. In fact, 70% of organization change efforts fail due to employee resistance and lack of management. The best way to balance these two seemingly conflicting forces is to establish clear systems for managing change. Defining and assigning “change roles” will provide the leadership and accountability for lasting change.
What are change roles?
Change roles are responsibilities that you assign to members of your staff to eliminate workplace anxiety that comes with change. Distributing responsibilities also helps to keep any one person from getting overwhelmed. Change roles create clear points of contact for questions and decision making when facing ambiguous situations.
There are three basic categories for change roles
The goal is to build a team from different departments who can work across the organization to lead the change and solve problems together. You want to identify:
1. An executive sponsor
This person is part of the institution’s primary leadership. He or she builds buy-in with board of directors for the change and has authority to clear obstacles for the champion. Their role is to establish credibility for the change and bring accountability when needed.
2. The champion
The champion is someone with a day-to-day role that is close to the front line, or the people most heavily affected by the change. The best candidate has strong visibility with the company as well as a high degree of respect and relational equity among the employees. An effective champion believes the change is worthwhile. He or she must be able to enroll others in the project using their enthusiasm and belief.
3. The guiding coalition
Most change initiatives will require cooperation from multiple (if not all) departments. Your guiding coalition should include at least one staff member from each department. This group of people offer support to the champion and perspective on how the initiative is progressing — they should also bring constructive feedback to the champion.
While these roles are important, they’re not rigid. Smaller institutions may need one person to function in multiple roles. Just make sure that you’re not asking too much of any one person. The goal is to share the work in a reasonable way and generate buy-in from every department.
Cultivating a desire to improve is crucial to any successful change management process. Some team members may feel more invested than others. That’s okay. Your goal should be to provide a vision for your team members and guide them on a journey of professional growth. Coaching is the best approach. It enrolls team members in reaching an objective using their own agency, instead of merely managing them to an outcome based on your authority.
Use the COACH model: Easy to remember for lasting change
At Kasasa we encourage our clients to use the COACH model. Here’s how it works:
- Catch them doing something right. Change is hard and will cause discomfort for most people. Alleviate this discomfort by vocalizing when someone follows a new process correctly. Positive reinforcement is a strong way to embed the behavior in their subconscious.
- Outline the positive impact. Talk about how their positive behavior will impact the business, the team, and your account holders. The more people can connect with the results of their work, the more likely they are to repeat it.
- Address an opportunity. When you see an opportunity for a team member to engage in a positive, but unfamiliar behavior, call it out. Without criticizing them, you can name the opportunity and encourage them to jump in without fear.
- Capture their ideas. People are more likely to invest in a process if they feel like their input matters. That includes their own suggestions on what they can do to improve. Asking for ideas, and capturing them as part of their plan for improvement will increase their buy-in.
- Help. Look for opportunities where you can better support your team members in their roles and goals. Change is a process and your caring support and encouragement can transform employees into enthusiastic champions of change!
Embracing change can become a source of joy and satisfaction for your team
The more you successfully navigate change, the easier it becomes. Simply having a map for how to navigate change can make all the difference in the world to your team. The strategies that we’ve covered in this article will give you a jump start on reaching your goals and bringing your whole team with you.