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Engaging Your Stakeholders in Change Management

This article is short, and it focuses on engagement. Getting stakeholders to participate in conversation and the work of incorporating change into the business.

Creating an environment in which people can process change and the new behaviors that result from process, systems or organizational shifts can be quite challenging. In my work to-date, I’ve discovered that people need to:

  • have the mindspace to consider the change and engage in conversation
  • understand what’s at stake for them personally and the organization at large
  • fully appreciate the risks inherent in keeping with the status quo.

The work we do in change management – considering the human impacts of change and building the awareness outlined above – begins the process and allows people to move along the path from understanding to acceptance to adoption to ownership.

One of my favorite quotes on this topic comes from Jeffrey Hiatt’s book, ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community. In it, the author writes, “your objective is to create energy and engagement around the change that produces momentum and support at all levels in the organization.” He also says, “you should not introduce a change and then wait to identify those groups or individuals who are resistant… your goal is not to drag along the unwilling…” (1)

I like that. Not dragging along the unwilling, but creating a positive, proactive, inviting vision of what can be, rather than focusing on reactive responses to resistance as it occurs.

(1) Jeffrey Hiatt, ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community, Prosci Learning Center Publications, 2006, pg. 79


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