What is Enablement? Making Your Change a Success Today and Tomorrow

by | Jun 14, 2022

Getting any project, big or small, over the finish line can be difficult. And it’s heartbreaking to see everything going right on a project only for it to falter at roll-out. Change Management is the best way to make sure the projects you’re working on achieve their full potential.

Axsium developed our Change Management methodology over years of experience delivering high-impact WFM projects for clients around the world. We break it down into four major pillars:

  • Stakeholders
  • Communication
  • Training
  • Enablement

In the concluding part of our series about Change Management, we’re looking at the final, and in many cases most difficult, step: enablement.

Making Enablement a Central Part of Your Change Management Approach

Change management may be the best way to enable your project to get traction and ultimately succeed—but who enables the enablers? Well, in the case of Axsium’s Change Management work, we do it ourselves.

Our enablement work is focused on making sure each step of the Change Management process is carefully planned so roll-out goes smoothly. But it’s not just about keeping the entire Change Management process on track—it’s about making sure our clients can use the results for years to come.

As with the other pillars we’ve discussed in this series, our enablement work is split out into a few different areas, including:

  • A detailed Organizational Change Management (OCM) Roadmap
  • An Enablement Scorecard
  • A carefully developed Center of Excellence
Co-workers putting together an enablement plan for their change management project.

Mapping Out Your Enablement

Roadmaps are a common part of many projects—and Change Management projects are no different. They’re a great way to clearly lay out what you want to achieve right at the start. They’re an even better way to track your performance against those goals as you prepare to roll-out.

In fact, at Axsium we build a road map into every Change Management project we perform.

We build our roadmaps by laying out all our end-to-end change tasks in a project plan format. The roadmap contains key milestones. It also indicates who owns what task and clearly shows which tasks can’t be completed until others are finished.

I know what you’re thinking. Why not just use a Project Plan? Yes, an overall Plan can be helpful. But a Change Management Roadmap overlays those benefits with the goals, timelines, and owners. It’s more descriptive and ties back to other key Change plans (Communication, Training, etc.).

Reporting Your Success With an Enablement Scorecard

Your Roadmap helps you track your progress. An Enablement Scorecard shows you how you’re performing against the goals you set yourself. This can include familiar reporting features like KPIs and success criteria.

However, it’s also a useful way to stay informed on how your roll-out is going. For instance, you can track the number of tickets coming into the change team, survey feedback scores, and training session registrations—any important reporting feature, really. I’m sure you can see how useful a scorecard can be.

Typically, Axsium’s Change Management experts set up the Enablement Scorecard early in the project cycle. We review it periodically as the project progresses to make sure that we’ve included all the important information we will need.

As with most projects, KPIs and tangible results help satisfy sponsors’ questions and goal setting for future projects.

Centers of Excellence and Your Future Success

So far, we’ve covered Roadmaps and Scorecards. These are both excellent ways to track and measure your success against your Change Management goals. But what about enabling success in the future? That’s what a Center of Excellence is all about.

In fact, you could say Centers of Excellence are the center of Axsium’s Enablement efforts. Simply, they are hubs of evergreen materials hand-selected by the Change Management team and other internal stakeholders.

Centers of Excellence support on-boarding efforts for new employees, managers, and locations. Organizations often become complacent about a change once the initial excitement has died down. A Center of Excellence ensures your people continue to benefit from the change years into the future.

You need to plan your Center of Excellence much like your training materials. Gather a group of stakeholders to identify the pieces that should make up the hub. The important thing here is to think in the long term. Your Center of Excellence should be made up of media and training materials that you can use for years.

Make sure you’ve identified who will be responsible for developing the content for the Center of Excellence. In many cases, this person will be the same person developing your training materials. Whoever it is, ensure they also know they have this added responsibility.

Tactical Enablement Examples

In each blog in our Change Management series, we’ll use the example of our two fictional grocers, We Sell Tomatoes and We Sell Potatoes. We Sell Tomatoes is using the Axsium Change Management methodology. We Sell Potatoes is not.

Enabling Success

We Sell Tomatoes and We Sell Potatoes both want to ensure their Change Management projects are successful. But they are taking very different approaches to enable that success.

We Sell Tomatoes is approaching their Change Management project the same way they approach every project. They develop an OCM Roadmap that lays out every task they know they must perform and identify who is responsible for each task.

Right at the start of the Change Management project, the We Sell Tomatoes Change Management Team identify important KPIs. They come back to those KPIs periodically in the run up to roll out to make sure they’re all still relevant and add new ones that have come up. Of course, they develop an Enablement Scorecard to track this.

And finally, they start developing a Center of Excellence alongside their training development. A team of stakeholders, including some store managers, identify a set of materials that will continue to be relevant for the foreseeable future. They give the training manager the responsibility of developing the Center materials as well.

We Sell Potatoes knows they need to understand what success looks like. They set a series of KPIs at the start of the project, but do not come back to those KPIs later. The Change Management lead takes on the responsibility of developing some materials for future staff. There are no plans for who will own the on-going Center of Excellence.

Tomatoes and other vegetables at a grocery store in the enablement phase of their change management project.

Results

When they come to roll-out, We Sell Tomatoes have put themselves in an excellent position. The roadmap means everyone knows exactly what they need to do at every stage of the project. And they can also see who and what may be affected by a delay in their particular task.

Because they periodically returned to their Scorecard, they identified a KPI they’d missed entirely at the start. And the updated Scorecard allows them to track training registrations and IT help tickets generated as a result of the change. This makes for a very happy executive team thanks to the in-depth reporting the Change Management Team can do.

Finally, the Center of Excellence is a roaring success. Employees begin using it to refresh themselves on what’s changed. And, years down the line, We Sell Tomatoes is still using it to onboard new team members.

The outlook is a lot less rosy for We Sell Potatoes. They miss an important KPI at the start of the project. Nobody notices the KPI’s absence until the Change Management Lead is presenting results to the executive.

Because the project lacks a roadmap, the team misses important tasks. Other team members’ work is held up because it’s reliant on the completion of the missed tasks. This causes delays. And of course, the Change Management Lead loses track of the future onboarding documents. Instead, the team hastily adapts a couple of training materials.

We Sell Potatoes’ roll-out is not a success. But worse than that, after the initial fanfare their employees begin to forget about the change and its relevance. Eventually, We Sell Potatoes concedes the whole project was a failure and starts the entire process again.

Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM)

It’s all too easy when an organization is preparing to roll-out a change in how they do things to focus on the change and not the people it will affect. That’s what the Accelerated Implementation Methodology (AIM) tries to avoid.

AIM is an integrated system of operational principles, strategies, tactics, measurement analytics, and tools all focused on achieving one simple thing: successful organizational change. AIM is built around three simple ideas:

  • Plan
  • Implement
  • Monitor

Those three ideas incorporate a variety of actions. These include properly defining the change, assessing the organizational climate and readiness for the change, and building strategy around reinforcement. Most importantly, it’s all about the people. As an approach, AIM essentially gives you a dashboard for the people-related risks to your change. And that’s something any project could benefit from.

What Next?

Change Management is a vital part of making sure any project is successful. When it comes to the work Axsium does for our clients, it’s a central part of our approach. We hope you’ve found this series of Change Management blogs useful. And if you find yourself in need of help going into a big change, talk to our experts!

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