4 Ways to Transform Change Management Planning and Sponsorship

Welcome to the first in our four-part series on how to ace change management for your migration to Microsoft SharePoint or Microsoft Office 365. Today, we’ll take a closer look at planning and sponsorship.  

If you don’t lay the proper foundation before major change, it is extremely difficult to make the change stick. You must have respected people at the top of your company’s food chain who give their endorsement of change and can truly drive the case for change home.  

Within planning and sponsorship, there are four important points you must address before you can even think about letting your knowledge workers in on your grand plan to transform the way they work using new technology: 

  1. Engage executive sponsors: I’ve written about the importance of executive sponsorship before, but it bears repeating: change starts at the top. Of the companies who report having failed SharePoint deployments, lack of senior management support was one of the top three reasons. Find someone with a SVP or C-level title next to their name to drive “top-down” messaging and act as an active communicator on the value and benefits SharePoint offers throughout your implementation. Once you have your executive sponsor in place, have a project team including executives and department leads across the organization so that this is a truly enterprise change management initiative.  
  2. Articulate the business case: I can’t stress this enough: SharePoint must be seen as a business solution, not just a new technology. SharePoint isn’t a new card access key to your office building – treat it the respect that it deserves. Clearly explain why you are moving to SharePoint so you can frame the rest of your change management initiatives within this context. The business case will set the stage for the rest of your change management project – the goals you set and the actions you take. You’ll want to start by defining goals that will give you the greatest return on your investment. What are the quick wins you can show to the rest of the business that will inspire and excite them to use SharePoint? Once you’ve defined your goals, they are the foundation for a subsequent awareness campaign.  
  3. Define behavior changes: If you are completely overhauling the technology employees use on a daily basis to do their jobs, you must spell out the actions you want them to start doing, stop doing, and continue doing. Common fears I’ve heard from Content Panda customers include fear of change, looking stupid to their peers if they ask too many questions, and a decline in their job performance because the learning curve is too steep. These fears cause a lot of stress, which then turns into conversations amongst themselves sapping time and draining business productivity. That’s why you must be very, very specific. Call out the elephants in the room – not only will employees read these behavior changes and nod their head in acknowledgement, it will mean they know you know exactly what it is they are doing and why it’s not working. This will help you focus awareness and training materials on the actual tasks you need your users to learn on SharePoint.  
  4. Establish success criteria: When you develop these goals and objectives, it’s important to have a formal set of success criteria to measure the impact of your deployment. Determine what should be measured, and how you’ll collect this quantitative and qualitative information. While your success criteria will depend on your specific business needs, there are several you should always include such as user satisfaction, employee engagement, and adoption velocity. By measuring changes that occur as a result of rolling out SharePoint, you will have a way to quickly track what’s working, what’s not, and what you need to fix.  

Come back next week as we will examine how to build awareness that sticks throughout your change management project. Can’t wait until then? Download our free eBook today to short circuit the pain of change management. 

Written by Co-Founder, Evangelist and Chief Marketing Officer, Heather Newman

Once a month we share expert opinions on end user adoption, Office 365 and SharePoint that we like from our community.  Receive our next issue by signing up here.