Understanding and applying effective Change Management: Part Six – Leading through the adoption cycle

Oct 15, 2014 • FeaturesManagementmanagementresourcesWhite Papers & eBooksCHange Managementservicemax

We end our exclusive series on Change Management with a look at the final stage of Sharon Moura’s five step approach to change management leading through the adoption cycle…

Across this six part series we have looked at change management in depth, beginning with a look at the key principals of change management, before looking in detail at how Sharon Moura, VP of IT Transformation and Strategy with Tyco approached the change management process when implementing ServiceMax’s field service management system.

In doing so Moura applied five key steps which we have looked at in depth in this series. These were “assessing the change”, “engaging the head and the heart”, “creating a change agent network”, “leading through resistance” and here we look at the last of these steps “leading through the adoption cycle”

There is also a white paper that accompanies this series which you can access by clicking here

Looking at the adoption lifecycle Moura identifies four key segments that we should be aware of as the full adoption cycle of our change management program is completed.

These are:

  • Early Adopters
  • Majority
  • Laggards
  • Naysayers

Lets have a look at each of these in a little more detail.

Early Adopters

Moura is a clear believer in the power of utilising a core peer group of field engineers as early adopters when deploying technology as it offers a great opportunity to further improve adoption further down the line too.

“If there is any opportunity to bring early adopters in using the technology or even if it is just getting them in and seeing it you should do so” she explains “They can share their excitement at the deployment out amongst their peers”

Indeed early adopters are likely to give your change management program that ‘buzz’ amongst the staff that will see you move rapidly along the adoption lifecycle.

As Moura comments “What we can do here is we can highlight what the adoption will get them. The “what’s in it for me” and we can communicate the rationalisation of the change, “the why” and then we can build on the excitement generated by the change”

“Its great to have early adopters they’ll really help you gain momentum and quickly move to the next step of the adoption lifecycle.”


The next step is to get the majority of our workforce adopted. Now this isn’t as simple as switching their old systems off and their new systems on, which is a dangerous oversight to make and why many change management projects are either long, arduous processes or ultimately just fail.

“Communicate the early adopter stories to the majority. Who’s using the system, what type of insight did they gain, where they able to do something faster? Keep a customer happier?”

If your staff are struggling to use your new solution then it will not be long before they are finding work-rounds. Before you know it spread sheets and post it notes are being used and your new system has become a burden on your field engineers when you it was supposed to improve efficiency.


Remember that your workers are generally focussed on doing their job and doing it well – this is why you employ them, so it’s not a case of them deliberately not using the new system for any other reason than they do not understand how to use it as part of their workflow.

To avoid this is therefore important that support continues throughout the adoption lifecycle. It is absolutely crucial that you are constantly reinforcing the benefits of the new system and perhaps one of the best ways of doing this is to highlight every win that comes as a result of the new solution.

Moura comments “Communicate the early adopter stories to the majority. Who’s using the system, what type of insight did they gain, where they able to do something faster? Keep a customer happier?”

Another tip Moura suggests is to ask each of the early adopters to tell at least two of their peers about the new system. “Get them to tell them what they learnt, what you know and your excitement around this initiative. That will help you to get the majority of employees adopting the new solution”


It’s just a fact of life that some people will only make a switch at the very end of the cycle. Whether they don’t feel they have the time to pay attention to the switch or whether it’s just that they are reliant on seeing demonstrable benefit before they can commit to change it is certain there will be some laggards in your change management program, regardless of the change.

“This is really where managers need to be front and centre going one on one with these employees”

However, for your change management program to be successfully completed to achieve its maximum effect then you must give this group close attention.


“This is really where managers need to be front and centre going one on one with these empoyees” comments Moura

“It’s also a great opportunity for some of the early adopters to act as peer coaches. Assign a coach to these groups of laggards either one on one or in small groups to help them through the change” she added.

It’s also important to continue the work you began in the previous stage in the adoption lifecycle (Majority) in championing ach and every win and to remember to continue using multiple channels, whether it be company memo, social media or coffee room notice boards.

Nay Sayers

And finally we come to the last category in the adoption lifecycle, the Nay Sayers. These are those that just won’t be swayed. Unfortunately there comes a time in all change management programs when the effort put in begins to vastly outweigh the value you are getting out of it. At this point we need to evaluate the benefit of convincing these die-hard naysayers.

“My recommendation is to ignore the naysayers,” advises Moura. “Recognise when the pursuit is not worth the effort and make alternate plans”

This series of features on Change Management are accompanied by a white paper in the subject, which is available by clicking here and completing the brief registration form.

Click here to download the accompanying white paper

This series is sponsored by: