Facilitating Organizational Change with SWOOP

Just take a moment and think about the last 2 or 3 major organizational change programs that you have been party to (or a victim of). Invariably the change will have something to do with wanting to change the way people work and interact with each other in your organization. Perhaps it was triggered by a significant structural change, a merger, or acquisition. Perhaps it was around  a major technology refresh. Or perhaps even a significant change in company strategy, triggered by a disruptive change in the marketplace. Whatever the reason, invariably you will be asked to adapt your behavior to become more adaptive, responsive and collaborative; because change has now become a constant.

Central to virtually all major organizational changes now are the digital tools that promise to facilitate the more adaptive, responsive and collaborative behaviors being sought. Collaboration tools are being launched in epidemic proportions; quickly followed by a plea to put people first, before technology. But should it be a question of what comes first. Perhaps it’s more of a question about how technology can work in tandem with people, to achieve the organizational changes being sought.

At SWOOP we have been thinking long and hard on this precise issue. How can people use technology and analytics to help them change the way they work? We use the tagline: “Once people can see the way they are working; they are better placed to change the way they work”. Below we have modelled how SWOOP measures can be used within a traditional Organizational Change framework called ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement). ADKAR, like SWOOP, acknowledges that change happens at the individual level; and in order for a group or organization to change, all the individuals within that group must change.

We have chosen a typical change initiative around the implementation of an Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) platform, to illustrate its application:

Brief Description of the Change
The organization wants staff to take the initiative to be effective self-organizing collaborators. They want to shift the focus from line management having to continuously facilitate communication, to one where leadership identifies the change requirement, and staff has the ability to react and respond to challenges without the need for continuous oversight.
ADKAR Dimensions SWOOP Response
Awareness of the Need to Change
Sponsors have crafted the organizational message on the above to support the ESN installation. Key messages and questions are posed on the ESN and appropriately # tagged Maps to our Platform Adoption/User Engagement stages. In particular, we would focus on the Activities/User to assess the breadth of uptake. We would then look at the sponsor tagged messages for change. Are they regularly on the SWOOP ‘Hot Topics’ and ‘Most Engaging Posts’ lists? Are the discussants drawn broadly from across the organization, or are they contained within a few early adopter departments?
Desire to Make the Change Happen
How can we tell whether staff are engaged enough to try and change their behaviors to the desired ones? Perhaps activity rates alone can give some early indication, but ultimately we need to see an increased desire to collaborate with each other. The SWOOP behavioural personas will show the majority of staff beginning their ESN journey as ‘Observers’. Over time we would hope to see these observers migrate to the more collaborative personas of ‘engagers’, ‘catalysts’ and ‘responders’. The degree to which this happens over time will signal movements in the desire to change.
Knowledge about How to Change
Knowing how to become a more constructive collaborator is a learned skill. As an individual becomes a more skilled collaborator, they will naturally build larger and more connected personal networks. They will also learn how to create value through collaborative action, more so than simply individual exertion. As individuals start to use SWOOP to monitor their own behavioral personas over time, they will learn how to adapt their online collaboration behaviors. To transition from being an observer is easy; just be active more than once every 2 weeks. Moving from say, being a ‘Broadcaster’ to a ‘Catalyst’ is a bit more involved. One initially needs to appreciate that one’s posts are not gaining many reactions – hence the ‘broadcaster’ classification. Knowledge of how to engage others in constructive conversations will involve both the nature of the content being posted i.e. is it of relevant interest to others? and also its mode of delivery e.g. is it being posted as a stated opinion, or a question inviting a response? With the SWOOP behavioral personas, individuals can, through action learning, achieve more positive collaboration behaviors.
Ability to Change  
Knowing what is needed to become a better collaborator does not always mean that all individuals are equally adept at making the necessary changes. We all know of people who are ‘stuck in their ways’ despite having a good knowledge of what needs to change. Someone who has the desire and knowledge to change their behaviors, but is still struggling to make the change, needs the support of others. This is where small groups or teams can help, through periodically conducting group introspection i.e. looking at how they can collectively improve their collaborative performance. SWOOP provides comprehensive support for groups and group behaviors. Look at the Group ‘Influential People’ list. These are the collaboration ‘role’ models. Encourage group members to model their online behaviors on these leaders. If the group members’ ability to change improves, we should not only see the activities/user and two-way relationships measures improve, but also the Key Player index should show that connections are being more evenly spread across the group.
Reinforcement to Retain Change
Once positive change has been achieved, it is important that they are not lost, resulting in people falling back into bad habits. SWOOP is an online dashboard that has the ability to send reinforcing signals in real-time. We would suggest that the SWOOP personal tab is where reinforcement is best signaled. Individuals can explore changes in their personal collaborative profiles. For example, a drop back to ‘Observer’ status sends a very clear message.

The record for successful organizational change initiatives has not been good. Often the blame is placed at the feet of technology; and its prioritization over the needs of people. Here we argue that it’s not a matter of which one comes first, but how technology and people can work in tandem, to achieve the desired organizational change.






















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