Do These Five Things to Drive Organizational Change
After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Recognize ways to contribute to successful organizational change.
- Summarize best practices for managing systems changes and user adoption to support organizational change.
Even if you’re not the CEO or CIO (yet), there are still plenty of things you can do to enable and influence change. Being involved in the operation, management, or development of Salesforce solutions gives you a unique view into many aspects of the business. And you understand how Salesforce solutions can enable positive change.
How? Let’s take a look at our top five list.
You are a deeply involved with Salesforce at both an organizational business level and a systems implementation level. This puts you in a unique position to identify opportunities to use Salesforce to drive business results and to inform your organization about what’s possible.
Let’s face it, most executive teams are not going to spend hours understanding the nuances of what’s possible with all their information systems. Instead, they rely on you to spot opportunities to use your existing systems in new ways or to extend your existing systems with other solutions to improve business performance. This provides you with an opportunity to act as an internal business consultant—looking for ways to enable change through technology.
It’s a good idea to periodically sit down with key executives to imagine how your Salesforce solutions can enable innovation of business solutions or operations to better help customers succeed. Your executives will likely appreciate the knowledge and may share helpful aspects of their vision for the future of the organization.
To keep from simply reacting to changes in customers and the market, it’s helpful to have a 3- to 5-year systems development plan—one that enables the organization to execute its strategy and pursue its vision. The process of putting together this plan can help you think through potential changes and align your development plans with customer and business needs. As you know from reading this module, the relentless process of change can potentially throw some unpredictable events at you, so the plan needs to be flexible.
Even if you already have a plan and a list of enhancement requests from users, it’s a good idea to sit with managers to check on their needs and to observe users several times per year. You’ll likely discover undocumented enhancement requests—any one of which might save a customer, help generate new business, or even save the organization a lot of money.
As organizations or technologies change, you’ll face challenges with systems change management. And given the numerous stakeholders involved, it’s better not to go it alone. The single best thing you can do for yourself is create a governance team or steering committee to help with all aspects of systems change management.
This team should be made up of representatives from the different department stakeholders, such as sales, IT, and service. Include all parties at the table, and aim to foster a spirit of trust and collaboration just in case some major trade-offs need to be made.
Tactically, there are lots of resources to help you, including the Salesforce guide, 9 Steps to Effective Change Management for systems-level changes. Check out the document in the Resources section, but to summarize, the steps are:
- Get a strategy
- Engage an executive sponsor
- Collect input from end-users
- Define scope and impact
- Configure and test
- Communicate and train
- Follow up and support
In an ideal world, all your systems changes will be enthusiastically embraced by all users, the organization will be wildly successful, and everyone will sing your praises. While we do wish this for you, sometimes things just don’t work out this way. The good news is that with some advanced planning and effort, you can be successful more often than not.
When it comes to user adoption, the best place to start is with an executive management team. If the executive team wants the organization to adopt the changes, they can usually make it happen. Getting middle managers on board early can also be beneficial. If the changes are perceived as making it easier to meet performance objectives, managers are more likely to get behind the effort.
When trying to get end users to adopt, there is a useful, super-simple, and well-researched model that can help inform you efforts. It’s called the technology acceptance model or TAM. Basically, it says that if users perceive the system to be easy to use, and they perceive it to be valuable (as in, useful to their own needs), then they’re more likely to adopt and use the system. TAM can help you think through how to both design the systems changes and communicate to end users in a “What’s-in-it-for-me?” (WIIFM) manner.
To further encourage users to adopt, raise awareness by recognizing and rewarding adoption behaviors and sharing wins resulting from the new system changes. As mentioned earlier, be sure to engage super users early, enlisting their help to get other people using the system.
The practice of organizational change doesn’t always go smoothly—in fact, it can often be a bumpy road. Perhaps that’s why some people choose to avoid it. However, organizational change management is an opportunity to help your organization succeed and to show what you’re capable of. So if you’ve done your homework and know the changes are needed and valuable, it’s a matter of helping people make the transition. Exuding patience, relentless positivity, and determination can help you win people over. And as you rack up wins and develop a track record of success and treating people fairly and honestly, people will be more willing to trust you when you roll out more changes. Who knows, one day they may even look forward to change!
Creative destruction continues to provide opportunities to drive change. Even if you’re not the CEO, your role with a key technology element of organizations—Salesforce—places you in a unique position to influence and help your organization become a change leader.
You can contribute by being “ambidextrous” or managing in two time periods—making sure your existing systems are producing results today, while working on innovative changes to enable the future. In addition, you may now know more about the change management process than most, and can help the executive team by enabling change through the organization’s systems.
By identifying new ways to use your existing Salesforce implementation and extending it with new functionality, you can help transform your organization into a change leader!
- Change Management Trailhead module
- 9 Steps to Effective Change Management
- 6 Major Reasons Your Salesforce Environment Needs Governance
- Venkatesh, V., & Davis, F. D. (2000). A Theoretical Extension of the Technology Acceptance Model: Four Longitudinal Field Section Studies. Management science, 46(2), 186-204.