The Fourth Element of the Change Management Journey: Commitment / Advocacy

  • November 12, 2021
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This post is the fifth in a series of five addressing the four elements of the Change Management Journey.

The fourth element of the Change Management Journey is the combination of each component working together. Commitment & Advocacy (C&A) develop when everyone knows why a change is happening (Awareness), how it impacts everyone (Understanding), and when everyone works together toward the success of the change (Collaboration).

Commitment is defined as a "pledge or obligation, as to follow a certain course of action." Advocacy is defined as "active support of an idea or cause." C&A together serve as the bridge between new processes that are implemented and the desired result.

C&A is essential for success in the change journey; there is mutual understanding, respect, and cooperation. When a change is happening, the organization and its members can remain motivated and engaged, especially through challenges, because of the mutual commitment and advocacy each has towards the change. In addition, high levels of C&A have been closely linked to business performance, increased profitability, improved productivity, member retention, customer satisfaction, and overall improved workplace culture.

A recent study of social dynamics in organizational change examined whether high levels of commitment resulted in greater change readiness than lower levels. Using data from 2220 blue-collar members, results showed that those with more substantial commitment were more likely to be receptive toward changes.

So how do we get there? What can leaders do in their organization today to make the members feel supported? Can you find ways for them to learn new skills or be more productive without feeling like they're being overwhelmed? How might you create an environment where it feels safe for mistakes to happen so that we all have a chance at gaining valuable experience through trial and error?

To facilitate commitment and advocacy, leaders must communicate with their members to understand how the change aligns with their organization's mission. It is valuable for leaders to consider the time and capacity needed to adapt to the new behavior and ensure that their members are prepared and engaged as new behaviors and processes are established.

Here are a few recommendations on how to improve C&A within an organization:

  • Communicate clear goals and expectations
  • Be transparent
  • Offer Incentives
  • Celebrate successes and acknowledge accomplishments
  • Offer support in adopting the necessary skills to be successful.
  • Increased focus on personal connection and understanding each employee's unique situation.

Commitment & Advocacy to a change is produced when members feel trust, belonging, and stability. Commitment comes with a sense of safety, support, and learning opportunities. When members are treated as individuals instead of one homogenous group, everyone wins! This level of Commitment & Advocacy develops when each of the elements of change work together; everyone knows why a change is happening (Awareness), how it impacts everyone (Understanding), and when everyone works together towards the success of the change (Collaboration).

The rapidly changing workforce underscores the need for human-centric, digital-forward solutions for organizations in all industries. Our Workforce Readiness Consulting practice helps drive organizational success with future-focused talent and change strategies. Learn more about how we help our clients thrive at the human side of business.

Read more in this series:

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Aja Jackson

Aja Jackson is a Principal Consultant in the Workforce Readiness Consulting practice at NTT DATA Services. Her areas of expertise include training, communications, and using data to understand "How" to change for transformations across multiple industries. She also mountain bikes which has become an outlet to practice being present during change constantly.

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