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Vitamin or Vaccine – The Role of Change Management in a Post Pandemic World

Like many of you, I have unpleasant memories of my first vaccines as a child. To this day, I remember sitting in the waiting room of the doctor’s office – fearful they would call my name. I recall sitting there quietly as I nervously turned the pages of the “Highlights” magazine – a staple in the doctor’s office in the 80s. For me, getting shots was a dreadful experience. And, frankly, my worst nightmare coming true. I lost sleep the night before and woke with cold sweats throughout the evening.

On the other hand, I have fond memories of my first vitamins – Flintstone’s, as I recall. Despite a chalky after taste, I found them to be very enjoyable. Each morning, I would look forward to that flavorful treat and immediately run around the house pretending to fly. In an instant, I felt that I had more strength, more energy, and felt like Superman – able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

While both vitamins and vaccines play a critical role in our human development and overall well-being, I think my experience as a child helps to illustrate that, as children and even as adults, we look forward to taking our vitamins much more than we would receiving a vaccine.

While vitamins and vaccines are essential to our collective well-being, the delivery of each varies. Vitamins are a proactive, often daily, way to provide your body with nutrients to help it grow and thrive. Alternatively, a vaccine is preventative in nature administered once or twice in a lifetime to keep you immune.

Change Management: Is it a Vitamin or a Vaccine?

The perception of change also varies widely based on the sponsor, or a person’s knowledge of the change management discipline altogether. To some sponsors, change management serves as a project’s vitamin – operating as an essential and proactive component to the project’s success. Deployed frequently and consistently, this approach leads to healthy outcomes of adoption, utilization, and proficiency.  Other project sponsors approach change management by deploying it like a vaccine. This one-and-done approach may seem efficient, but it does not change the behaviors required for sustainability.  With this in mind, change management as a practice requires daily intake to ensure individual and business transformation.

Change management as a discipline is intended to enable organizational success at the individual level.

When sponsors view change management as a ‘vitamin’ for the projects they lead, the discipline and mindset of change management will be seamlessly and successfully embedded within all project work. However, if change management is approached as a ‘vaccine,’ the sponsor may discover that a one-and-done approach does not create the transformation they desire.

Key Elements of a Vitamin-Based Change Management Approach

So, vitamin-based change management is more than taking your daily Flintstone.  Without all these key ingredients you may not have the full benefits of a change-management affecting your program health.

  • Collaborative: Are you engaging across teams and gaining input from others?
  • Human Centered: Are you considering impacts to the individual or just overall program success?
  • Integrated: Are the change management activities aligned to the program objectives and plan?
  • Iterative: Are you adjusting to resistance, obstacles, and feedback?
  • Outcome Focused: Are the change management activities focused on ensuring people and business outcomes?
  • Planned: Do you have an upfront approach to change management?
  • Proactive: Are you anticipating the need to continuously update your change management plan and adjusting accordingly?

Vitamin-based Change Management: Benefits

When CARA clients deploy a ‘vitamin-based’ approach to their most critical change initiatives, they report experiencing:

  • Enhanced employee and leader engagement
  • Increased sustainability of the change enterprise wide
  • Realization of people ROI (return on investment) for the project
  • Avoidance of change saturation across the enterprise
  • Increased speed to productivity
  • Accelerated process and technology adoption
  • Highly aligned and empowered workforce

At The CARA Group, we offer Change Management solutions through the thoughtful development of a roadmap, framework, and/or toolkit. With this approach, our focus is on the adoption, utilization, and proficiency achieved by employees.  We do this by unlocking client insights and leveraging CARA differentiators to accelerate adoption of the change across the enterprise. For example, using CARA’s two distinct change management capabilities Storytelling As A Service and Survey Focus Groups to identify and unearth critical client insights that might otherwise go unnoticed or undetected, we helped a client achieve long-term success and sustainable change; read here to learn more.

The client insights are leveraged to both inform and influence our change management strategy. Further, we have experience working with organizations who subscribe to either a vitamin or a vaccine-based change management approach. With that said, we are known for ‘meeting clients where they are’ and can navigate the change landscape at all points of the project life cycle. Please contact me directly if you would like to discuss CARA’s change management capabilities, or to discuss your business transformation needs. (Andrew.barnitz@thecaragroup.com).

Andrew Barnitz, Director, Organizational Change Management, The CARA Group

Author Andrew Barnitz, Director, Organizational Change Management, The CARA Group

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