Gary Hamel, Management Expert and Entrepreneur stated “you can’t build an adaptable organization without adaptable people-and individuals change when they have to, or when they want to.” The ability to adapt to change initiatives is pivotal to the success or failure. The change management process (CMP) has been tried and tested by consultants, entrepreneurs, and academics. Each step of the process plays a significant role that contributes to the outcomes. This article focuses on what, how, and why aspects associated with step – 4 – enlisting a volunteer army.
What does it mean to enlist a volunteer army? A volunteer army is a group of identified peers across a variety of levels in the organization . This group want to be a part of the initiatives to get others within the organization to not only see the value, but acts upon the urgency. As identified in step-2 – build a guiding coalition. The objective is to put together a team of admired and respected peers that can help to craft, evaluate, and communicate change initiatives. Step 3 – building the vision and efforts take that further in crafting the specific initiatives and big picture change vision. Step 4 aids in bringing this altogether by having a team of people that can connect the value and urgency to get started. The “volunteer” side of this step is simply other professionals within the organization that want to be a part of carrying out the vision and initiatives.
How can a volunteer army be created? According to Dr. John Kotter, Harvard Business School Professor and Entrepreneur, this is done by raising a large group of people that are “ready and willing” to drive the urgent change. These are people that see the value, vision, and reasoning behind the logic for the proposed change. They want to make that change a reality. They have the knowledge, experience, and social networking abilities to lead the internal forces within the organization. The actual people that are a part of this “enlisted army” for change can and will vary. Typically the diverse team includes personnel from the top, mid, and entry level positions. The key is to have a diverse pool of talent that share the vision, drive, and accountability to train, implement, and monitor strategic initiatives that support the change outcomes. The team believes in the vision, initiatives, and aids leading by example.
Why a change volunteer army matters? Similar to building a guiding coalition in step 2. This action takes it even deeper by building a large team that believes, implements, and monitors to the change initiatives. A volunteer army helps to stabilize the new change initiatives. Furthermore, the volunteer army leads by example, mentors and helps to share the buy-in of the change initiatives. The volunteer army aids in decreasing resistance toward change. This action ties in with the process of unfreezing, implementing, and refreezing the desired effects which is one of the fundamental processes of change that was proposed by Dr. Kurt Lewin. Leading by example aids in minimizing the resistance; which would increase acceptance and follow through of initiatives to reach the desired state. The less resistance, the greater opportunity for change initiatives to manifest and last.
In conclusion, step 4 – enlisting an army of volunteers matters. This action helps management to form a large group of individuals across many levels and departments to come together to implement, monitor, and maintain change initiatives. This group can also aid in creating a positive acceptance of the change initiatives and lead by example. Such behavior helps to foster a more positive attitude toward the efforts. The more positive the environment is toward the change, the less resistance. When there is less resistance, there is a greater opportunity to unfreeze, implement, and refreeze the desired change initiatives to become the standard way of doing things. Furthermore, it helps to promote the next step of the CMP, step 5 – remove barriers and enable action.
Thanks so much for reviewing and stay tuned for more information in regards to the best practices to remove barriers and enable action.
by Katie Doseck, PhD MBA
Chief Visionary and Strategic Ace Up Your Sleeve | Viral Solutions LLC
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