Visual Process Innovation: Phase 4 - Activate

Introduction:
Implementing a new process is the toughest step, and it’s often where organizations undercut their plan by not focusing time and resources on how to engage, teach, and motivate people to change.
 
Processes don’t change by themselves; people need to change. That’s where Visual Process Innovation can be so effective.
 
What is an activation plan?
Co-creating and visualizing the future state jump-starts any process change, and because the multi-disciplinary teams that create the new process become advocates for it, those same people help to develop an engagement and activation plan to scope out what the organization needs to do over weeks and months to make sure change occurs and to make sure those changes stick.
 
We do this in a discovery session designed to understand employees and how to engage them. We focus on every touch point in your process. Employees need to know why they need to change, how it is changing, and what they need to do differently.
 
This provides insights to create an implementation plan that helps people understand and accept changes and moves them to activating and defending those changes.
 
We design learning experiences, so they can understand and practice new processes and behaviors. And, we work with organizations to develop reinforcement tools so change sticks.
 
Why do you need an activation plan?
Activation isn’t a one-time launch announcement or a communications plan. Activation is a strategy for creating support and lasting change in the way people work.
 
Without an activation plan, organizations often see only parts of a new process successfully integrated and won’t gain the full business impact of the improvement program.
 
People are creatures of habit, so change can take time, and activation needs to lead your team to the new process and then reinforce change.
 
TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES

Empathy Mapping: This is an excellent tool for understanding what any new process is up against. It maps the larger context for different stakeholder groups, so we can look for ways to engage them. The framework asks what each group is doing, thinking, hearing, saying, seeing, and feeling to get a clear picture of the audience and begin to look for ways to engage them.

Communication & Engagement Strategy: Focusing on key engagement principles such as transparency and two-way communication, we focus on questions: How do we reach employees? How do they learn? What tools are available? How can we create opportunities for social networks to support the new process? How can we answer questions? This helps us to work with clients to design a strategy for success.

Learning Experiences Activation: Once we know how to reach stakeholders, we work to develop the right tools; from learning games to training programs and playbooks, we work with organizations to design what will be most effective in helping people understand why and how the process needs to change.

Enablement & Reinforcement Tools: It’s easy for people to slip back into old patterns; that’s human nature. Simple engagement tools can test a new process, so you know what’s working and where you might be running into roadblocks. Then, we can turn those into opportunities to reinforce and redefine the engagement strategy to set people up, so they can execute the new process.

Cynthia Owens is a Senior Consultant at XPLANE.