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GUIDEs: How I found the most passionate Change Agents

Lately more and more people  asked me about the GUIDE Self Introduction Form, which I developed as an application form (and filter) to find voluntary Change Agents. Here it is – with some background information and how I put it together (and why) It has been a lessons learned review for me as well – so thanks for the trigger.

In 2012 I had the task to drive a huge culture change at Continental – introducing Enterprise Social Networking. To reach all our (back than) 86.000 colleagues with access to a computer, I needed a network of passionate change agents. My goal was to have at least one in every location (in 50 countries) and this „GUIDE“ should not have to take care of more than 200 people, personally. So I had to find about 400 highly engaged, self driven colleagues in all levels, all regions, functions and age – also hierarchy level.

 

guide_self_intro_form

 

How to find 400 passionate change agents (without THEM knowing, they could be) The only fast communication channel, back than has been eMail, so I won over our CFO and CHO to send out a short note to every colleague worldwide:

 

„Are you a motivated, curious, communicative person?
Do you want to become part of a global GUIDE network demonstrating a new method of communication and collaboration?“
Apply to be a GUIDE by filling out this short Self Introduction Form

 

During the three year journey, I never mentioned Change Management tools, methods or terms or called anyone „Change Agent“.

Many had doubts that those „voluntary“ colleagues could do the job

I did not ask for grades, positions, functions, education levels. The only request I made has been:

curious, self motivated, english

  • People have to be curious – in my eyes this is the fundament of learning
  • I can not motivate people – specially not, if I only have on hour per month via phone (virtual global network)
  • English was important to have a „common“ language,  so we can exchange

 

The „Self Introduction Form“ had various reasons:

  • structure the replies of the curious colleagues (could be none or „very many“ answering)
  • getting an idea of their „change behavior“ – early adopters?
  • a bit of „strategic“ view – can they look at things from a non operative perspective (why do things fail)
  • seeing their engagement, by the „value“ of their answers (free text = need to think)
  • English capabilities (reading and writing / expressing own thoughts)
  • collecting first „experiences“ or „doubts“
  • Getting feedback about the status of the GUIDE concept
  • FILTER – I was hoping that by filling out this questions and thinking about it, most „non engaged“ or „hot shots“ will be filtered out – not finalizing it, or sending it in
    (I would love to see how many have started, but while filling it out – quit)

 

Technical Background:

I used Acrobat Writer to create a form with some preset choices (drop down fields). Web based forms have not been allowed back than. The form has been sent via email by clicking at the button at the end of the form – as an attachment. I wanted to make sure that there are minimum technical hurdles – since in 2012 not all systems at Continental have been standardized.

The returning forms have been consolidated in a „Master PDF“ file, where the content of all fields was put into a master table ready to be exported – that worked quite well. Funny fact – Even 2 years after I sent out the original invitation to participate, I still received applications ;-)

 

The form:

 

 

A little summary of the feedback:

I received about 600 GUIDE Self Introduction Forms – more than 800 colleagues became GUIDE until today (still receiving applications – now without the form)

 

Feedback on „How to convince people to use Social Media“
(consolidated and sorted by occurrence):

  1. Showing (dis-)advantages and cost-benefits (improve communication, reduce time, knowledge base, experience exchange, sharing data)
  2. Sharing own experience by leading examples and being role model
  3. Amplify social and business contacts, connect people with same interests, keep up with latest updates of others
  4. Story telling and create a better work environment (appreciation)
  5. Getting to know other cultures
  6. Show development opportunities, offer training sessions, make it personal
  7. „not needed“ – if it is great, people will adopt
  8. Giving guidance on what is a safe and appropriate use

 

What are the most common failures with change:

most_commen_change_failure

 

More Information on the GUIDE concept:

 

 

 

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Install, Promote, Support – wie man interne soziale Netzwerke als Plattform für digitalen Wandel zum Fliegen bringt | Kluge Consulting GmbH - 21. Juli 2017

    […] Eines der bekanntesten Beispiele ist das von Harald Schirmer bei der Continental AG etablierte GUIDE Netzwerk,  die Kollegen von PostShift haben das Thema in dem Blogpost „Guide Networks: How To Involve […]

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