Knowledge On How To Change

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“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” — Leo Tolstoy

Knowledge is a key building block of change management.

If you want to drive a change, you need to help build the knowledge that individuals need to make the change.

Individuals need two types of knowledge: 1) how to change during the transition, and 2) how to perform effectively in the future state.

Keep in mind that knowledge is only effective if there is already awareness and desire to make the change.  If the individuals don’t care about making a change, then the knowledge will be irrelevant.

In the book ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community, Jeffrey Hiatt shows us how to create a desire for change using 4 factors that influence a desire to change.

What Builds Knowledge on How To Change?

Hiatt provides some examples of the kinds of knowledge needed to implement a change:

  1. Training and education on the skills and behaviors needed to change
  2. Detailed information on how to use new processes, systems and tools
  3. Understanding of the new roles and responsibilities associated with the change

To deliver the knowledge on how to make the change, you could include anything from formal training programs to job aides to one-on-one coaching to user groups and forums.

4 Factors that Impact Knowledge on How to Change

According to Hiatt, the following four factors influence the knowledge on how to change:

  1. Factor 1 – The current knowledge base of an individual
  2. Factor 2 – The capacity or capability of this person to gain additional knowledge
  3. Factor 3 – The resources available for education and training
  4. Factor 4 – The access to, or existence of, the required knowledge

Factor 1 – The current knowledge base of an individual

The change is a lot easier if somebody already has the knowledge.   The gap between what they know and what they need to know is the challenge that you need to address.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“The gap between a person’s current knowledge level and the knowledge requirement associated with the change will directly impact the probability of success for those individuals. The current knowledge base of an individual could be in the form of education or work experience.”

Factor 2 – Capability of the person to learn

How easily a person learns will impact the success of the change.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“In addition to the knowledge gap that may exist, each of us has a different capacity to learn. Some people pick up new information easily, whereas others struggle to learn new processes or tools. For example, some people learn new concepts quickly, but have difficulty learning technical skills.”

Factor 3 – Resources available to provide education and training

Availability of resources will impact the knowledge, which will impact the success of the change.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“Some companies have extensive resources and funding to deliver training. Other firms struggle to provide any type of structured education to support a change. Resources could include the availability of subject matter experts, instructors, classroom facilities, books and materials, equipment and systems for student
use, and funding to support the training program overall.”

Factor 4 – The access to, or existence of, the required knowledge

Access to the knowledge that individuals need impact the success of the change.  If the knowledge exists, but people can’t get to it, it’s not going to help.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“For some desired changes, the knowledge may not be accessible or may not exist. Depending on an organization’s geographic location, the ready access to knowledge may be a barrier to learning. Some parts of the world have very little access to educational institutions and subject matter experts.”

While ultimately, change is up to the individual, you can make change a whole lot easier by creating awareness, influencing desire, and building knowledge to support the change.

Knowledge is a fundamental part of your overall change management approach.

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