A New Approach to Assessing Change Readiness

On a scale of 1 to 5 premium Tim Horton’s donuts (a very relevant scale in Canada!), how would you rate the following?

  1. I believe this change is necessary.
  2. My managers support the change.
  3. My peers support the change.
  4. I know what to do.
  5. I am prepared for this change.

These are the standard questions that determine whether to proceed with a change. If your stakeholders cannot give a consistently positive response, your change program is at risk. And not just risk that people will stumble during the transition, but that the organization will not (and may never) see a return on their investments. Ruh-roh.

Leaders need good data to determine whether people are really ready for a change, but do these standard questions really get the job done? Consider what we must assume in order to leverage the data:

  • People know what change you are talking about.
  • People know the details about the change that specifically matter to them.
  • They are connected enough to managers and peers to know what they are thinking.
  • They share your definition of what it means to be ‘prepared’ for a change. 

Well, we all know that assumptions can make an… well, it makes you look bad. Is there a better way? And could we make it fun?

That was the question I posed to a team of change pros I was working with. The organization was ‘survey weary’ so we needed a different approach. THE QUIZ was born!

We took the key points about the project – benefits, main features, significant hurdles – and turned them into a series of multiple-choice questions with funny distractors. They were not that hard. Or so we thought…

We used https://www.sli.do/ to set up the quiz. Questions had a 30 second time limit. During the next meeting with our Change Champions, we had them log into the app. After each question, the leaderboard came up showing who got the question right in the shortest amount of time. Competition ensued!

Leaders got questions wrong. Change champions showed they had missed some key points we thought we had drilled into them. Really???

Were they embarrassed? NO! They laughed at the distractors and challenged some of the answers. We had the best conversation ever about the program! Some of our quietest team members demonstrated they had been listening all along.

The best communication is interactive. Putting our messages into a quiz generated concentration, laughter, and debate. There is no better way to learn. And it also informed us where we had communication gaps that needed to be solved with our broader set of stakeholders.

People loved the format. Our team was invited to run it at additional department meetings. More fun and more learning ensued. Readiness increased.

When leaders need to decide whether to proceed with a high risk/reward change, they need the best inputs available from the change team. Take readiness to the next level. Gamify it!

Thoughtfully yours,
Jeff Skipper