Turn disruption into momentum for positive change

Dec 1, 2020

As a manager, are you using the disruption of the pandemic to just get by or to thrive? That's right … we said thrive!

Disruption provides you a unique opportunity to advocate for change. Each manager's situation will be different, but we all have opportunities to move forward on some of those much needed improvements. Managers who have been part of a change effort in the past know that one of the hardest hurdles to overcome is convincing employees that the current process is no longer the best option. In times of disruption, such as the pandemic we're experiencing now, it can be easier to get employees to make the decision to participate in a change.

Creating awareness of and desire for change

The ADKAR model of change management points out that creating awareness and desire are the first, critical steps in leading a successful change. During times of disruption or crisis, the need for change and to make the change quickly is more obvious. Changes that might have been difficult to achieve at another time can be implemented before you know it.

For example, the pandemic has forced many of us to work remotely and move to virtual technology options to conduct meetings. We've had to move more quickly to the “K”, knowledge, and “A”, ability, stages of ADKAR than most of us would like, but we're making it work, and likely will make some of our new technology a permanent part of our future work environment. Remember to use the always important “R” — reinforcement — to make these technology changes stick.

Focus on what is urgent and important

So instead of wishing the current situation would just go away, use it to look at those change initiatives you have been putting on hold. Now is the time to prioritize them to make the most important changes to boost your work units productivity, efficiency and effectiveness. Researchers at the Gallup organization suggest that you analyze each potential change by evaluating the urgency and importance of each change. Begin by asking yourself:

  • Has the current disruption made addressing the current process or issue more urgent or less urgent? (Urgency)
  • How significant was the problem or opportunity surrounding the process or issue before the disruption? (Importance)

So now what? Focus your change efforts on those areas you identify as very urgent and very important, and use the ADKAR model of change management to help you make your change effort successful.

Want to know more?

  • To learn more about the ADKAR change management model, check out our 2020 article series by searching for “change management” on our blog.