From inspiration to action: how change makers drive results

You’ve set the vision. You’ve recruited inspirational speakers. You’ve invested in the best tools. But what will you say when your CEO asks you six months later, “What do we have to show for those events and tools? Did they work? Are people working differently? What impact have we seen?” In this post I’ll talk about how change makers can ensure your digital capability programme works to drive real business impact.

What is digital capability?

Digital capability can improve the performance of your business. But it is more than skilling up in the latest technology and tools. To change the way an organisation thinks and works, we have to address the four key elements of digital capability building:

  • Skills – what we know how to do
  • Mindset – what we think and believe
  • Behaviour – our default behaviours when it comes to work
  • Experience- what we’ve done or have seen others do

These elements are explained in more detail in our digital capability white paper.

Embedding new behaviours and creating new learning experiences requires energy and commitment. But how do you motivate your teams to adopt new habits and continue learning when they’re busy, focussed on other priorities and can’t see any immediate benefits?

Change makers

Change makers – influencers, volunteers, networkers or change agents – whatever you call them, are your friends. They should be enthusiastic about the change, influential enough for people to listen to them, and bold enough to make changes themselves. Find them and work with them to inspire and lead your teams towards making everyday, powerful changes in the way they work.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking change makers are senior sponsors, or those running the capability programme. People who are on the ground doing the work will have more connections and more credibility. They understand the benefits and the barriers to change and aren’t afraid to talk about both sides.

The role of a change maker will vary depending on the organisation and the nature of the change, but broadly their role will be to inspire the team, lead pilot projects, connect individuals, support discussions, find success stories and share helpful content.

Four ways change makers will drive impact

So why are they so important? There are various stages of the change journey from inspiration to embedding action. Here are four ways change makers will support this journey to increase the impact of your digital capability programme.

1.Making people give a sh*t

Before any kind of behaviour change can happen, the team has to be inspired by the vision and keen to get involved. Change makers offer a credible voice as they’re in the trenches with everyone else. When they share content about the vision, the exciting changes afoot and why it’s inspired them, it becomes more relevant than if it’s sent in an email or presented by the CEO. Change makers will promote the big events, lead their own pilot programmes and share early success stories to inspire the troops and show how getting involved will benefit them directly.

2. Provide the toolkit
The team is eager to get started, but what next? They will need the right tools, knowledge and skills to make the change a reality. Change makers can support this stage by sharing helpful and timely content that gives people what they need to get started. This could be promoting specific training events or courses, sharing links to tools, tips and user guides, or setting up discussion groups.

3. Help make it a reality
Everyone is skilled-up and ready to go, but shifting this behaviour change will require plenty more support and encouragement. Change makers will spot opportunities for pilots, and identify people from different backgrounds and experiences to work together on them to put their new skills into practice. These pilots can quickly gain results which provides more motivation for the the wider team to get involved. Change makers can also play a role in social platforms like Slack or Yammer by participating in discussions, responding to questions and escalating issues to the management team. By doing this they encourage communication to flow between peers, not just from the top down.

4. Keep it going
Maintaining momentum in a change programme can be the most challenging bit. Enthusiasm wanes and people get busy. The energy of change makers is crucial at this stage. They will find and shine a spotlight on success stories to show how the pilots are benefiting individuals, teams and business performance. Others will learn from these shared experiences and feel motivated to try something similar. Change makers will continue to share helpful content about tools and skills, spark debate, respond to questions and communicate successes and challenges back to the management team. The result of this support and energy will be more changes in day-to-day behaviours, more pilots, and ultimately more business impact.

If you are a senior leader please get in touch for an invite to our capability event on April 18th where you can hear Diageo talk about its change journey, including the role of change makers in driving transformation.