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🎨 The ART of Change Leadership: Aware

art change leader change management frameworks Aug 03, 2022

Leading and guiding teams through organizational change is an "ART" and a Science. At Apogy, we use the ART - Aware, Ready, Trained framework to remind and teach change leaders what people need to navigate change successfully. ART represents the goals and outcomes for lasting individual change, which is foundational for organizational changes.

This month, I'll share a three-part series walking you through the ART framework. First, a look at what it means to be Aware of the need for change at the individual level. 

What it means to be Aware 

Change is how business strategy gets implemented. However, there is no change unless people decide to change their behaviors to support the new ways of working. The role of the change leader is to support stakeholders in making that decision, which starts with helping them become aware of what is changing, why, and how.

In Apogy's certification program, we teach change leaders the following core concepts as it relates to Aware:

(1) Stakeholders must be aware of the need for change / what is changing.

(2) Stakeholders must understand the vision and reasons for the change.

(3) Stakeholders must understand how the change impacts their role.

Aware of the Need for Change

Helping individuals understand the need for change starts with explaining the business reasons for it.  All change is an investment of time, money, and people (resources). Leaders decide to invest in organizational change because there’s a clear need to improve the company’s performance, operations, or technology, or because the change advances the organization’s (or a specific team’s) strategy and goals. 

Investing in a change, no matter what size, without change management, increases the risk for value loss. The good news is that change leaders can strategically close the gap between the investment made and the improvements realized by leveraging the ART framework, starting with Aware. 

Change leaders can help build awareness of the need for the change by investigating and sharing the factors that contributed to the decision-making process. This can include internal factors such as business growth, or external factors such as a shift in customer demand or preferences. This information is necessary for the decision stakeholders will eventually make - to change their behaviors in support of the change, or not. 

Aware of the Vision and Reasons

Change leaders also need to think about how to build awareness of the vision and reasons for the change, meaning, how can they help impacted stakeholders envision the future state and understand the reasons that specific change - whether it’s a new process, a system, or person - was determined. By connecting the dots in this way, impacted stakeholders can start to bridge any gaps in understanding that, if ignored, can lead to counterproductive self-concern. 

To build awareness of the vision and reasons for the change, a targeted and multi-way communication approach is best. Keep in mind that people want to hear from their direct supervisors during times of change and disruption, so part of your job as the change lead will be equipping supervisors with information to help them not only process the change as an impacted stakeholder, but then quickly transition into their role as the leader and manager of the team. 

Aware of the Role Impacts

To fully process a change, the stakeholder impacts must be clearly defined and conveyed. Change leaders can define the impacts by reviewing project documentation, strategic planning documents, or direct interviewing, and use that information to complete an impact assessment or process map. The goal is to be able to explain the previous process in relation to the new process stakeholders will need to follow to be successful in the new environment.  

Building awareness of the need for change, the reasons for the change, and how the change impacts roles and groups is necessary. Without this level of understanding, impacted stakeholders will be unable to develop a personal connection to the change and the leaders guiding it, which is critical for behavior change and change readiness (Part 2 in this series). 

Closing the Loop on Being Aware

All change starts at the individual level, meaning self-awareness is a must. Reflecting on your emotions as it relates to workplace changes and managing your response is core to effective change leadership. Before you can help others become aware of the need for change, it’s important to understand and navigate your own reactions so you can bring your best self forward as a change leader. 

Want to dive deeper into the ART framework and how to apply it to your unique business situation and change? Become an Apogy certified Change Leader!

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