I am sure that at this point you are wondering how long it took us to get here. Where are we in our 90 days’ timeline for adoption? Well, this is a tricky answer. If you had a good grasp on your strategy and were able to articulate value scenarios, recruit your Champions and Executive Sponsors and Coalition within the first week or two, then define the ACM plans and put them to work in the following weeks, you are now at the end of the three week Pilot (or roughly the 55 day mark). Curious how to get to this point? Check out Parts I and Part II in this series!
Reinforcing Change (Reinforcement in ADKAR)
We are now entering the last phase in our change management journey to Teams adoption. The 21/90 rule really comes to play right about now. What is the 21/90 rule? It states that in order to form a habit, a person needs to repeat the goal activity for 21 days straight. However, to keep a new habit as a part of a new way of working, a person needs to continue the same goal activity for 90 days. The 21/90 rule is the reason why its highly recommended to run Pilot for 3 weeks or 21 days. When building a training path for the pilot participants, the main objective is to concentrate on remembering/knowledge, understanding and applying. We want end users to be able to gain a basic knowledge of Teams and to remember and understand how to use it within the first three weeks.
After the pilot, it will be imperative to initiate the reinforcement plan with the pilot participants. This supports innovative and analytical thinking around Teams functionalities and also nurtures the growth of FOMO (fear of missing out). Starting reinforcement with a smaller group allows you to plan your knowledge path. The best way of thinking about applying the right reinforcement is to think about learning objectives as the six levels of behaviors as they relate to learning. Those levels are best described in Bloom’s Taxonomy.
In building the knowledge library and training path for your organization, you want to have the lower level of learning objectives as a mandatory training path during the first three weeks of Teams usage. Medium-strength training paths should be the next must-have. Both low- and medium-training paths need to be followed by assessments. The best way to assess the gained knowledge is to provide assessments in the way of surveys or games, followed up with a public announcement for the winners and badges for those who successfully pass. Depending on your budget and company culture, there are many ways to award your employees for gaining a new habit that positively supports reaching business goals and objectives.
While pilot participants are moving to reinforcement and medium-level training, the rest of the organization is still in transition or in managing the change phase. Don’t forget that the rest of the organization needs all the support they can get. Make sure access to Champions and the Champions community is clear, as well as ways to reach technical support. The advocate network plays a crucial role in the reinforcing change phase, even bigger than the Champions. They are guiding their employees in a better way of working that directly impacts the goals and objectives of their business units or departments and, in turn, supports the overall organizational business strategy.
When entering the reinforcement phase, I like to borrow the idea of a visible score card from the 4DX methodology (The 4 Disciplines of Execution). It helps us to see our Success Measures and KPIs in a transparent way – plus a little friendly competition between departments is never a bad thing. Make sure to report on the KPIs and success measures weekly for the first 90 days to identify pockets of success and resistance. The resistance plan will help bring resistance to a minimum. After the first 90 days, reporting should be done for the first six months on a monthly basis and, after that, quarterly or twice a year.
The higher levels of learning should be pursued and encouraged only after around 75% of the organization has passed low and medium training path levels. With regular check-ins and assessments, you will understand when the time is right. High-level training paths can be introduced through the Champions network, innovation groups, career path conversations, monthly 1:1 reviews, etc.
It has been 90 days and it’s time to look at our adoption rate. Is it 100%? Probably not, but if you did everything that we talked about it will be very, very close. How close will depend on… you got it… the PEOPLE that you have in your organization. Because change is about people.