How do we know if a change will succeed and the team will happily accept how their daily basis will change? At Drive to Improve, we frequently ask this question and have developed a visual tool to answer it.
This tool does mainly two things: understanding people’s motivation & ability towards the change and assess the readiness for the change. Other tools out there do these things separately, however the combination of the two is what makes it incredibly useful.
It is based on Fogg’s behavior model, David Rock’s SCARF model of social threats and rewards, and the Beckard and Harris change formula. These three models nicely contribute to each other helping us to focus on the questions that really matter to understand the readiness for the change of every individual impacted
Successful Change = Motivation > Ability
Drawing on the Beckard and Harris change formula, we can say that it states that an individual will be willing to make a change if they perceive that the effort or cost of changing is worth it. The formula is expressed as follows:
To achieve a successful change (C), both motivation (ABD) and ability (X) must be present at an adequate level and be sufficient to overcome any obstacles or limitations that may arise. In other words, the level of motivation must be greater than the ability required to make the change.
In this way, it can be said that the Beckard and Harris change formula is related to the Fogg Behavior model, since both motivation and ability are important factors that influence the individual’s perception of the effort or cost of changing. If the individual perceives that the change is valuable and has the necessary ability to make it, they are more likely to be willing to make the change. Therefore, the combination of the Beckard and Harris formula and the elements of the Fogg Behavior model can provide a more complete perspective for evaluating the response to change and increasing the likelihood of success.
If motivation is one of the key drivers in response to change, how can it be assessed? For this, the SCARF model can be used, which is based on the idea that the human brain has been “wired” to minimize threats and maximize rewards.
The model identifies five social factors that drive human behavior. The first letter of each category makes up the S, C, A, R, and F of the SCARF model:
- Status: Our sense of importance relative to others. A decrease in status can trigger a threat response, while an increase in status can lead to a reward response. Questions could be asked here: How will their status be affected? How will they be perceived compared to others?
- Certainty: Our ability to predict the future. Uncertainty can trigger a threat response, while clarity and predictability can lead to a reward response. Questions could be asked here: Do they know with certainty how the change will function? Do they know with certainty how they will be able to handle situations that arise from the change?
- Autonomy: Our sense of control over our environment. A lack of control can trigger a threat response, while having control can lead to a reward response. Questions could be asked here: Do you have the autonomy to define the change? Can you modify the change once it is implemented?
- Relatedness: Our sense of connection to others. Social isolation can trigger a threat response, while social connection can lead to a reward response. Questions could be asked here: Will this change allow for greater connection with other departments and individuals? Will it facilitate better teamwork?
- Fairness: Our perception of whether we are being treated fairly. Unfair treatment can trigger a threat response, while fair treatment can lead to a reward response. Questions could be asked here: Will work be fairer and decisions more equitable?
If each of the elements of the SCARF model can be evaluated in each of the individuals involved in the change, it is possible to know how they feel about the change and whether they see it as a threat or a reward.
Once motivation towards change has been analyzed, it’s time to evaluate the ability to carry it out. To do this, certain elements of the Fogg Behavior model could be used. Although Fogg uses the word “ability”, it doesn’t just refer to someone’s competence to perform a particular task. The model refers to how easy it is for someone to perform a task at a given moment. Fogg suggests that those who design change experiences should make behavior simpler, meaning they should rely on the power of simplicity. The chain of simplicity is composed of six links (Time, Money, Physical effort, Mental effort, Routine, Social)
To evaluate the element of ability used in the tool, the components of time, effort (where the links of physical effort and mental ability of Fogg’s behavior model are grouped), and routine will be used:
- Time: Which refers to how much time is required for the change. If the change involves more time than previously dedicated, people are less likely to be willing to do it. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the duration of the change and find ways to simplify and make it faster. Questions could be asked here: Will the change involve more time than the current way of working?
- Effort: Which refers to the physical effort and mental ability required to make the change. If the change requires too much effort or too complex skills, people are less likely to be willing to do it. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the complexity of the task and find ways to simplify it and make it easier to perform. Questions could be asked here: Is it complicated to make the change work? Do they need to acquire more knowledge?
- Routine: Which is the ability to incorporate the change into people’s daily routines. If the change interferes with people’s routine, they are less likely to be willing to do it. Therefore, it is important to evaluate how the change will affect people’s daily routine and find ways to make the change easy to integrate into their daily activities. Questions could be asked here: Do they have a viable work routine for the execution of the change?
What if we visualize in a quadrant the motivation and ability of everyone involved in change?
If we assess the different individuals who may be involved in the change and categorize them based on factors such as user personas, stakeholder types, or job roles and visualize it in the quadrant, we could get an overview of the situation and make more informed decisions about how to approach the change. We could identify which groups or individuals need more support in terms of motivation or ability, and adapt our strategies accordingly.
In the quadrant, motivation is placed on the vertical axis (from low to high) and ability on the horizontal axis (from harder to easier).
In general, visualizing the evaluation of motivation and ability on a quadrant can be a useful tool to better understand the response to change and make informed decisions about how it should be addressed.
An example of a practical case of change is the implementation of the Kanban method to improve the effectiveness of the service, and we want to evaluate the response of the managers of the customer service department to determine if it will be positive and, therefore, if the change will be successful. To do this, we start with motivation and evaluate the five social factors of the SCARF model in the anticipated situation:
- Status: How will their status be affected? How will they be perceived compared to others? We assume that this will lead to better outcomes and, consequently, the department will have a better rating from the organization and customers. This, in turn, will positively recognize the work of the managers.
- Certainty: Do they know with certainty how the work system will function? Do they know with certainty how they will be able to handle situations that arise from managing the service using this methodology? In this case, their level of certainty is high because they have prior and extensive knowledge of the Kanban method methodology, having implemented it in other departments previously.
- Autonomy: Do the managers have the autonomy to define the work process? Can they change the way you work once it is implemented? It is supposed to have enough power to make the necessary decisions in the new work process. However, it can also be considered that it already has this power, so it would not imply an additional positive change or threat, therefore you can place this component in an intermediate position.
- Relatedness: Will this work method allow for greater connection with other departments and individuals? Will it facilitate better teamwork? Although the use of the Kanban method will initially involve a more frequent relationship with all departments involved in the development of customer service, it is important to consider that some of the managers have some introversion and have had past conflicts with individuals from other departments. Therefore, this motivation factor may initially be low. However, once better collaboration is generated and the responsible person feels comfortable with this way of relating, it is likely that their motivation in this regard will increase.
- Fairness: Will work be fairer and decisions more equitable? By making the work more visible and using the data as a basis for decision-making, a fairer and less preferential decision-making process is expected, with greater involvement of departments and people involved in the work system. Therefore, the fairness factor could be argued to increase in this motivational component.
It is important to keep in mind that, although the managers are motivated and have a positive attitude towards change, there may be certain difficulties in implementing the Kanban method due to interaction with other departments and people, as mentioned earlier in the relatedness component. The motivation element could be visualized as follows:
The next step is to assess the ability element of the managers for the department in which the Kanban method is intended to be applied:
- Time: Will the Kanban method involve more management time than the current system? There is currently no clear method and there is a sense of pointlessness going from one side to the other, so the new working system is expected to be slightly easier to manage and allow more time.
- Effort (where physical effort and mental effort links of Fogg’s behavior model are grouped): Is it complicated to make the Kanban method work? Do they need to acquire more knowledge? The previous experience of the managers with the Kanban method may reduce the complexity of execution, although it is important to keep in mind that each team and department is different and specific challenges may arise. In general, it can be said that the Kanban method is relatively “easy” to implement and does not require extensive training, although it may be necessary to acquire some specific knowledge and make certain adjustments as it is implemented in a specific team or department. Therefore, the level of effort can be considered medium.
- Routine: Do they have a viable work routine for the execution of the Kanban method? The implementation of the Kanban method involves creating certain work routines that allow for the establishment of suitable cadence cycles and clear objectives, which can generate an effective routine for the execution of the method. However, it is important to evaluate whether other participants in the service can adapt to this work routine. In general, it is considered that the Kanban method allows for evolutionary and on-demand implementation, which makes it easy and feasible to establish a viable work routine.
By placing the data on the quadrant, we can gain a perspective of the motivation and ability of the customer support managers.