Merge's Blog

Change management strategy #12: build momentum by focusing on early adopters

Continuing in our ongoing series on the tips and strategies that leaders can use to achieve successful change management, here is change management strategy #12: use your early adopters to build momentum.

Use your early adopters to build momentum

As a leader you know that every change initiative has some employees who come on board faster than others.  These are the people who may have expressed some denial or anger at the beginning, but are now not only accepting of the change, but actively involved in making it happen.  I call these employees “early adopters”, and you can take advantage of their energy in a positive way!  Give your change management process a power energy shot by using these employees to build momentum.  Instead of doing all the hard work yourself, let these team members multiply and extend the excitement.

Early adopters tend to create enthusiasm and energy.  So give them opportunities to get the word out.  Let them spearhead portions of the change initiative.  Ask them to work directly with other team members to determine how to change the specific processes involved.

Don’t focus on the resistors

Ironically, here’s what I’ve often seen happening in departments or organizations where major change is in progress.  Managers and supervisors get hung up on the resistors, the people who are dragging their heels and holding out for the way things were.  And these managers and supervisors spend a lot of time and mental energy lamenting about the two or three people who are still in denial and anger, trying to come up with ways to bring them on board.

My recommendation: do the opposite!  Spend your time and mental energy in change management focusing on your early adopters, those who are not only on board, but already moving the bus forward.  Let your early adopters create momentum for you, and your change initiative.

We are now up to Strategy #12 in this series, and given the interest it has generated, I have plans to do at least three more.  But for now, as always, I want to know what you think.  Where are you spending your energy – on your early adopters or on your resistors?  Tell us why and share your experiences.  Your insights will help us learn from one another.

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