People and change: Can inspiration unlock the desire to change?
Prosci’s ADKAR model has stood the test of time in the world of change management. But… what if we added a new element to the model? Could it unlock the desire to change?
For those new to change management, ADKAR is a framework for understanding change at an individual level. It focuses on five key elements, all of which must be in place for change to be implemented successfully—Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. Each element acts as a ‘building block’ and one cannot happen without the other.
Out of all the elements, desire is the one that interests me most. The desire to embrace change is a personal decision—it can’t be forced. This is where logic falls short. And creating more awareness about the need for change doesn’t make a blind bit of difference. It’s a relief to know that we still have control over our own minds—at least to a certain degree!
“More and more awareness will not result in desire… desire is difficult because it is ultimately a personal decision that is not under our direct control. ”
Prosci’s approach to desire is to positively influence a person to embrace change by:
• Effectively sponsoring change with employees and peers
• Preparing managers to be change leaders
• Assessing risks and anticipating resistance
• Engaging people in the change process
• Aligning incentive programmes
I’d say this is a very logical approach. And I’ve no doubt it will help to nudge people along. It may even result in them accepting change.
Perhaps it’s possible to trigger a natural desire to embrace change in a person by introducing a new element to the ADKAR model—one that’s not based on logic—inspiration.
“Inspiration: The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative”—Oxford dictionary
Is an inspired individual more likely to feel the desire to embrace change?
Sometimes a decision isn’t logical but it just feels right. That’s because we’re motivated by feelings not rational thought. It’s our feelings that drive us forward and give us confidence. When we’re inspired by a person or organisation, we follow their lead, not because we have to but because we want to—it just feels right.
“People don’t resist change. They resist being changed.”
—Peter Sense, American systems scientist and senior lecturer
So, how can your business inspire individuals to change? First, it must have a deep-rooted sense of why it exists. And that comes from looking back, not forward. It’s not driven by strategy. It’s driven by staying true to a purpose or cause. Answer the why and tell your business story, be authentic, give each individual a sense of purpose, a feeling of belonging—make sure they understand that they’re part of something bigger.
Ultimately, an individual will feel inspired when they believe in your purpose or cause, feel they matter, they’re safe, and that they belong.
Below is a breakdown of what I believe needs to happen for these feelings to emerge:
Do I matter?
Everyone needs to feel they’re contributing in a unique way, so make sure your people feel:
• Guided by inspirational leaders
• They can make a difference
• They’re appreciated and publicly acknowledged
I want to feel safe.
The world is full of uncertainty so it’s important to create an environment where people can learn, grow and take risks. Make sure your people:
• Have a voice
• Can clearly see the business cares and looks after its people
• Understand the important role they play
• Your business is not all about profit—people come first
I want to belong.
We all have a basic need to belong and feel part of a group. Make sure your people know they’re:
• Part of the bigger picture
• Part of a team, all working together towards a common purpose or cause
• Respected and admired
• They’ve similar values and beliefs to the business
I’m confident that if each individual within a business understands the important role they play, how they can achieve on a personal level, believes their work is worthwhile, and feels inspired—the desire to embrace change will come naturally.
“People need to know that their work is worthwhile at both the individual and organisation levels and this is arguably the most important need.”
—The Ken Blanchard Companies, a global leader in management training
Prosci’s ADKAR tools and methodologies clearly have great value. After all, 80% of fortune 100 companies have used ADKAR, so something is right! But having said that, there’s still mystery surrounding what makes an individual feel the desire to change.
The decision to change is ultimately up to the individual. True, but perhaps when an individual is inspired, they’re far more likely to positively embrace change.
Do you think there’s a missing element between awareness and desire in the ADKAR model?
Could it be Inspiration?
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This article was a response to the #ChangeBlogChallenge 2019 on Change Readiness