Transformation is a topic of everyday. What is new today, will be old tomorrow. Delivering A continuous improvement program top down – bottom up requires clear sponsorship and support from all levels. One of the key components in any change to support this, is to make sure the business is behind the transformation.
We have worked with business ambassadors (key users) in quite some transformation programs. These are people of all levels taking ownership of driving the movement. They are the people who are there to validate the direction, influence the deliverables and bring them to their colleagues. At the end of the day they are there to make sure that what you bring in to your organisation, is validated and adjusted to the day to day of the people impacted by the change.
We have a few important tips when working with business ambassadors:
Make sure they are part of the design phase
Business ambassadors are the people who do the work every day. Often we see that a design is made, the project implementation started and then we find out that the daily routine of the users is not in line with the objectives. The risk is total misalignment and limited adoption to the new. Ambassadors help validate the transition and give feedback on the risks.
Facilitate business ambassadors
IIt’s one thing to get them involved. But if you expect them to be part of the transition, you need to make sure that you facilitate their needs. As with all launches good marketing, good materials and extensive training are important to win trust. Organisational transformation, in our experience, needs process design and quality, a structured and optimised internal marketing strategy besides factual information. Do not sell the new, but inform and facilitate the business ambassadors with tools, information and guidance they need to help drive the movement.
Listen well. Emotion is a big factor to take in account
We tend to sell the new. We may not listen enough. Regular feedback moments are important during the journey. You will make mistakes and you will miss a message or 2 (probably more). But opening the discussion with the team members is important. Do not over-communicate but listen and ask feedback regularly. Use this feedback to improve and share the adjustments you make.
Communication is tricky, you can make or break a transformation if you don’t get this right
Often, a good communication plan is missing. When there is alignment on the projet planning make sure that commnunication, colaterols and the once in a while key milestone delivery are planned and communicated well.
From experience communication is preferably face to face. Mailings are often not read and maybe when read, misunderstood. Make sure you have a clear timeline of deliverables and a continuous process of feedback.
Be wary of availability of Ambassadors!
We often use ambassadors to support the programs we deliver. However, these ambassadors also have their daily job to do. It can thus be difficult for them to put the effort in the program. Delivering a program without creating time to contribute may result in to challenges on other levels of their day to day.
Our advice is to schedule intervention, align with their leaders and synchronise with the need of the project team. Make sure you align expectations in detail and based on feasibility extend the group, or even make time for them by realigning priorities. You do not want them to fail on their deliverables as a consequence of delivering a program. This will kill motivation and success of the program.
Share your experiences on how you can best utilise business ambassadors?
We are keen to understand your view onusing business ambassadors. And what you have done to make sure they have timeto contribute. What where the successes are there lessons to be learned?
Like and share. Preferably leave a postbelow. We love to hear your perspectives!