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Driven by change

Rethinking Stakeholder Change Management Using Customer Journeys

November 2, 2018 | By Lanette Ferguson

a group whiteboarding

In organizational change management (OCM), certain core practices are used to determine the impact a project has on stakeholders. What’s sometimes missing is the ability to tap into how stakeholders “experience” the change. This is where the value of customer journeys comes into play.

From design thinking, which is a human-centered, prototype-driven process for innovation, comes the concept of customer journeys. This idea demonstrates how empathizing with our customer’s journey provides insights that shape marketing approaches to elicit a response or behavior. Customer journey maps help us think systematically about the steps customers take when interacting with a product or service and how that customer “experiences” those interactions.

Bringing the concept of customer journeys into the OCM world can be a powerful way to dig deep into the stakeholder change journey, providing a level of detail that may not be evident otherwise. Like customer journeys, stakeholder change journeys give us insights that help shape the stakeholder experience as they move through the change.

Inside insights

Using stakeholder change journeys along with personas helps us humanize and deeply understand the most impacted stakeholders. The process of developing stakeholder journeys and personas requires stepping into the world of the impacted stakeholder using empathy to gain perspective of their journey. When a stakeholder group is deeply understood, every aspect of managing the change is altered, ultimately decreasing resistance and increasing adoption.

When stakeholder change journeys are shared, they influence sponsors, leaders and project teams, because everyone has an opportunity to see the impact of the change from a more human perspective—helping all involved understand the importance of managing the change well. Leaders see exactly how the change affects their people, building empathy and a full understanding of what their teams are experiencing.

Personal chart
The beginning of a stakeholder journey. Developing journeys and personas help to gain perspective when managing change.

Unwrapping results

Bringing in design thinking and adding change journey maps and personas to your OCM toolkit is valuable to managing change. Insights gained by developing change journeys and personas include:

  • Providing an opportunity for change and allowing project teams to thoroughly think through the change from an impacted stakeholder perspective
  • Creating deep awareness of how each stakeholder group experiences the change journey
  • Providing input into the change adoption, change readiness, coaching, change network, communications, training, resistance management and sustainment plans
  • Enabling buy-in from project and leadership teams in support of recommended change activities
  • Providing the project team and leadership with an easy way to understand which stakeholder groups are affected the most and at the highest risk
  • Enabling the change management team to devise powerful stakeholder management approaches

Think big picture

Storytelling and visualization are critical elements of organizational change journey mapping and personas to deliver information in a digestible, concise and impactful manner. This provides a shared vision across impacted stakeholders that can align siloed business units and functional areas with friction points in the stakeholder experience. This alignment promotes proactive resistance management that can add measurable velocity to the implementation life cycle and drive higher end-user adoption and sustainment rates. By piecing together the entire experience for the end user, metrics can be established to support continued alignment, commitment and change agility. Once these attributes are established, business units and functional areas realize the behavioral benefits that create the cultural foundation of change resilience and continual service improvement.

Looking to make your next change initiative a success? Let’s connect.

Lanette Ferguson is a practice architect within TEKsystems’ Enterprise Service Management OCM practice. She has 16 years of experience working in IT and six years of OCM experience supporting IT change initiatives across various industries, including higher education, insurance, staffing, retail and pharma. She is a leading expert on journey maps and personas. She currently serves as vice president on the ACMP Texas Board of Directors while also supporting the Austin region for professional development and networking activities.