Empower broad-based action

In the sixth of a series of joint posts Jooli Atkins FBCS CITP and Susanna Way MBCS look at the Kotter eight step process of successful change. Step 5: Empower broad-based action.

At this stage, you need to begin to remove obstacles to change and change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision. 

Encourage people to take action towards the first steps to change and ensure that everyone is aware of the action plan. As soon as you see someone taking a positive step towards the change - recognise them for it. 

Recognising (and therefore ‘stroking’ them for it) will encourage more of the desired behaviour.

If you are interested in understanding more about the power of Strokes, then search for Transactional Analysis - Strokes on Google, or better still buy the book 'TA Today' by Ian Stewart and Vann Joinnes.

Once again, the L&D team can help ensure that behaviors during this time are appropriate and relevant in the context of the change. The last thing you need is a customer-facing agent telling a customer that ‘we’re sorry for the delay in answering your query. Our systems are rubbish so we’re changing them at the moment’.  Although, on the face of it, that’s a positive message for the agent it’s not something that you would want to be discussed in that way with a customer!

When implementing system and process changes, ensure that the learning is part of an integrated programme rather than stand-alone. Too often, learning is broken down into, for example, behavioral ‘Customer Service’ skills and then system and process ‘CRM’ skills separately. We don’t work in silos; we integrate what we do, how we do it and the systems we use to support us in doing it. In addition, we integrate how we behave whilst we’re doing it and we usually understand how what we do fits into the big picture for our organisation. 

It’s better; therefore, to break down the learning into smaller system, process and behavior integrated elements, such ‘Managing a Customer Query’. A great tool for integrating is to deliver Ways of Working workshops - also known as WoW workshops. Linking processes, systems and behaviors into ways of working will make sense of the new world in real terms for those impacted by the change.

For more information on the Kotter 8 step process of successful change visit the website.

Jooli Atkins FBCS CITP is Chair of The BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group - the only professional body solely dedicated to supporting L&D professionals working in IT.

Susanna Way MBCS CITP is also a member of the BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group and has a special interest in extending our online presence and engaging more closely with our members.

The BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group comprises members with many years of experience in implementing successful IT- enabled business change and we organise a programme of regular face to face and online meetings. Meetings are usually free to join and open to anyone interested in L&D whether as a practitioner or a colleague. If you are interested in engaging with the Group or in discussing ideas for working with L&D in IT-enabled business change, visit our page

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About the author
Jooli Atkins (FBCS, CITP) has been involved in the IT profession for the past 25 years, mainly in Learning and Development. She is the Chair of the BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group and CITP assessor as well as being an accredited SFIA consultant, specialising in Business Change.

See all posts by Jooli Atkins

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