“Influence Change at Work” – A Helpful Toolkit for Change Practitioners

Over the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of following Heather Stagl’s work on influencing change and making an impact in organizations. Heather’s Influence Change at Work Toolkit is an incredibly helpful resource she’s produced that provides a package of concepts, exercises and templates that can help organizations improve their processes and implement change projects in a simple, easy to follow approach.

Here are a few of my favourite components of Heather’s Toolkit:

1) The importance of clarity. The most common mistake during change initiatives is the failure to establish the “why” behind the change. A clear assessment of the current organizational landscape, coupled with defining the ideal future state is a key diagnostic step required for successful transformation. Heather’s tools ask the reader to identify “What is not changing?”, “What can you leave behind”, and “Where is there?” which can significantly help provide clarity and direction during change.

2) Resistance is inevitable. Resistance is a natural part of transformation, and attempting to squash any and every sign of resistance is a losing battle. Uncovering areas of frustration and tension is a theme throughout the Toolkit that’s embedded in every step, from diagnostic to implementation. Heather identifies 8 potential sources of resistance, including lack of information, skills deficits, low motivation etc. which is helpful as a diagnostic tool, and provides a normalizing message about resistance being an organically evolving component of change. Working with these sources of resistance, and trying to support employees by providing evidence of progress, rewards, and psychological safety will help to establish buy in, and develop trust over time.

3) The power of influence. Broken down by both structural and personal types of influence, the Toolkit provides helpful questions around tapping into your power as an influencer in your organization, focusing on 3 key structural influences – accountability, stakeholders, and communications. Sharing the right messages through the right staff, with the appropriate level of commitment is a key enabler of success in change projects. In terms of personal influence, leveraging your “organizational power” and engaging in dialogue across your organization can be helpful activities during change. A few questions to start your assessment around power could include:

a. From which sources do you derive the most power?

b. How does your level of power affect your ability to get things done within your organization?

c. From which sources would you like to gain more power?

By both identifying your sources of power, and tracking areas where influence and authority can be attained, an individual’s sense of control and autonomy during change can be dramatically improved.

4) Get your hands dirty. Through the development of our Results Map Handbook and extensive series of templates, tools, and exercises, I’ve become a strong advocate for digging into the change communications planning process using hands-on tools. Heather’s Toolkit is filled with key questions to consider, exercises, scorecards, inventories, tables, and retrospective analysis for reflection that are helpful both as individual worksheets, and as a package of tools. The hands-on nature of a toolkit for change is an incredibly practical approach for organizations moving through different types of transformations, over varying levels of time and intensity.

Although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all template or toolbox for all change initiatives, Heather’s Toolkit is an incredibly helpful starting point for any transformation, and helps agents of change get “unstuck” quickly, and easily. For more on Heather’s Influence Change at Work Toolkit, see here. Also, check out a recent podcast collaboration on change communications that Heather and I participated in on her Enclaria radio show.