It’s human nature to resist change. Humans naturally prefer the status quo, stability over change, and feel more comfortable when they don’t need to go through changes in personal or professional lives. While today’s world requires organizations to adapt to constant change and update their technologies, it is critical to take this resistance into account when your organization is deciding to change your software platforms, such as your learning management system (LMS).
When you’re looking to transition from the status quo of legacy systems to a new LMS you need to be prepared to manage the inevitable resistance to change, to ensure a smooth transition from old to new platform and processes.
Because there is a natural preference for the status quo, doing nothing is often the easiest way, even if there would be a strong dissatisfaction with the current software. This is why nearly 60% of all qualified change opportunities end up in “no-decision” (source: Sales Benchmark Index).
Based on research, only a few organizations say that they are satisfied with their current learning management system or the provider, but because of the preference for the status quo, this dissatisfaction alone doesn’t suggest a change.
Gleicher’s Formula for Change
David Gleicher developed a widely used model to assess change in the 1960s. The model was refined by Kathie Dannemiller in the 1980s.
In addition to D = Dissatisfaction, Gleicher’s Formula for change takes into account V = Vision of what’s possible, and First = concrete steps that can be taken towards the vision. Gleicher’s Formula is: Change = D * V * F > R
If the product of the three factors (D, V, F) is greater than R = Resistance, then change is possible. This formula highlights the importance of all these factors. If any of them is absent or low, the result will be low and therefore not capable of overcoming the resistance.
The best way to approach change is to build a business case that supports it. You should start by defining:
- Dissatisfaction – define it in terms of consequences. Ask ‘So what?’ and ‘Who cares?’
- Vision – what is possible? What can the future look like? What is the Impact on Business (IOB)?
- First – concrete first steps to get from where you are to the place you envision
Building the Business Case for Change
Buying a new learning management system should be seen as a strategic business decision rather than a software purchase. For the top management to approve the investment in new technology, it is critical to demonstrate the business value that will be created with the new solution. You should put together a detailed plan that illustrates the path to achieve the desired business impact, a business case for change.
Thorough business analysis and current state analysis will reveal gaps between what is currently in place and where the organization wants to go. When conducting the gap analysis, make sure you focus on the business benefits that have nothing to do with the current solution but are the results of it.
Questions to ask:
- Why now?
- What are the consequences of the problem?
- Who is impacted?
- Can it be solved?
- What is the desired Impact on Business (IOB)
Following the business case for change, you should then focus on defining the functional requirements for a solution that supports your business goals. Teamwork is important when planning to implement new technologies and processes. It is critical to make sure that the requirements meet all the different needs and cover different user roles. It is a good practice to involve all stakeholders in the process as early as possible. Later on, this will also help with the adoption of the new system.
When building the business case for change it is important to focus on defining the problem and consequences of no change. Unless the need for the change is properly illustrated and communicated to everyone who is affected, there will be high levels of resistance to adopting the new solution. Leaders should always be transparent when communicating the vision and direction to build trust. Realistic management of expectations is key to prevent user resistance to the new solution. Effective leadership can reduce behavioral resistance to change, especially when dealing with new technologies, such as learning platforms.
Only after you have the business value and your specific requirements clearly defined, you can research possible options. Based on the research, reconfirm functional requirements and narrow down the options. Following this process, you’ll be able to recommend the preferred options and secure stakeholder consensus. After finalizing the business case and requirements, it is easier to negotiate contracts and statements of work as well as implement the new solution. Make sure you select a learning platform provider, which is capable of building a long-term strategic partnership with your organization.
Desired Impact on Business (IOB)
Following a successful implementation of the new solution, it is important to define the measurable impact you expect to see with the new software and a timeline to validate the Impact on Business (IOB). Measurable ROI will position your new learning management system as a key driver towards your organization’s strategic business goals. For more info on IOB check out the blog Does Your Learning Make an Impact on the Bottom Line? from David Wentworth of Brandon Hall Group.