Whether you are a change leader, accidental or other, you’ll want some help to understand and explain the challenge that lay before you. If you are an intentional change leader, you are likely in possession of some of these data points. If you are an accidental change leader, either you volunteered or was volunteered, this will hopefully help calibrate with your Executives.
The Law of Diffusion
Simon Sinek often references The law of diffusion in his “Start with Why” talks. The Law of diffusion addresses the people and their willingness to adopt new technologies. As you can see – most people will wait for the new technology to take hold in one form or another. The Innovators can be considered your first wave to truly embrace technology. Think about the image of people camping out to get the very first iPhone release. On the other side, are your Laggards. Laggard are exactly how they sound – these are your Luddites who still rock that flip-phone.
The Gartner Hype Cycle
The Gartner Hype Cycle takes a technology perspective and maps the perspective of new technology over time. It starts with the introduction of the technology and the increased expectations around it followed by a new reality in the “Trough of Disillusionment” and then slowly climbing up into the ‘Plateau of Productivity”.
If you were to map them together, you may see something like the image below. The image is a bit troublesome for me as it implies a fixed end to adopting technologies. When in actually both people and process are in constant motion up and down (or left or right of) each of the curves.
The Kubler-Ross Change Curve
The Kubler Ross Change Curve maps employee engagement over time when faced with Change. This could be considered another visual representation of the emotional underpinnings involved in the Law of Diffusion. The stages in the Kubler Ross Change Curve are modeled off of the 5 stages of grief.
To summarize, creating change is hard. In addition to the actual change (process, people, or technology) that you are introducing – there are so many layers to consider. When I first took on my first big change project, I had no idea how resistant the people would be in accepting the change. I just assumed that my friends and colleagues would accept the change (even embrace it) – I was wrong. I hope the above gives you some data to show how hard the journey is for some people and how hard it may be for you as a change leader.
References and Resources
For more on the Ross Kubler Change Curve – go here.