Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dealing with Change

The following is from http://www.enablingchange.com.au/Summary_Diffusion_Theory.pdf

When something is changing you need to realize the following occurs.

Innovators: The adoption process begins with a tiny number of visionary, imaginative innovators. They often lavish great time, energy and creativity on developing new ideas and gadgets. And they love to talk about them. Right now, they’re the ones busily building stills to convert cooking oil into diesel fuel and making websites to tell the world about it. Unfortunately their oneeyed fixation on a new behaviour or gadget can make them seem dangerously idealistic to the pragmatic majority. Yet no change program can thrive without their energy and commitment.

How to work with innovators:
• Track them down and become their “first followers”, providing support and publicity for their ideas.
• Invite keen innovators to be partners in designing your project.

Early adopters: Once the benefits start to become apparent, early adopters leap in. They are on the lookout for a strategic leap forward in their lives or businesses and are quick to make connections between clever innovations and their personal needs.

How to work with early adopters:
• Offer strong face-to-face support for a limited number of early adopters to trial the new idea.
• Study the trials carefully to discover how to make the idea more convenient, low cost and marketable.
• Reward their egos e.g. with media coverage.
• Promote them as fashion leaders (beginning with the cultish end of the media market).
• Recruit and train some as peer educators.
• Maintain relationships with regular feedback.

Early majority: Assuming the product or behaviour leaps the chasm, it may eventually reach majority audiences. Early majorities are pragmatists, comfortable with moderately progressive ideas, but won’t act without solid proof of benefits. They are followers who are influenced by mainstream fashions and
wary of fads. They want to hear “industry standard” and “endorsed by normal, respectable folks”.

How to work with the early majority:
• Offer give-aways or competitions to stimulate buzz.
• Use mainstream advertising and media stories featuring endorsements from credible, respected, similar folks.
• Lower the entry cost and guarantee performance.
• Redesign to maximise ease and simplicity.
• Cut the red tape: simplify application forms and instructions.
• Provide strong customer service and support.

Late majority: They are conservative pragmatists who hate risk and are uncomfortable your new idea. Practically their only driver is the fear of not fitting in, hence they will follow mainstream fashions
and established standards. They are often influenced by the fears and opinions of laggards.

How to work with the late majority:
• Focus on promoting social norms rather than just product benefits: they’ll want to hear that plenty of other conservative folks like themselves think it’s normal or indispensable.
• Keep refining the product to increase convenience and reduce costs.
• Emphasise the risks of being left behind.
• Respond to criticisms from laggards.

Laggards: Meanwhile laggards hold out to the bitter end. They are people who see a high risk in adopting a particular product or behaviour. Some of them are so worried they stay awake all night, tossing and turning,
thinking up arguments against it. And don’t forget they might be right! It’s possible they are not really not laggards at all, but innovators of ideas that are so new they challenge your paradigms! In the early stages,
where you are focusing on early adopters, you can probably ignore the views of laggards, but when you come to work with late majorities you’ll need to address their criticisms, because late majorities share many of their fears.

A great video to follow this up: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action

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