July 13, 2022
6 min.

How to manage Change at scale with a Network of Ambassadors

Projects impact the operational level of a company or large, diverse groups of people. Neglecting the point of view of the people impacted by the change will harm a project in term of quality, delivery and adoption.

That’s why we want to activate and nurture Change Ambassador Network! They will act as a 2-way communication channel and help you guide the people impacted by the change!

Watch our webinar & download our canvases.

Why should you create a Network of Change Ambassadors ?

To help you achieve your people-dependent ROI!

The “voyage” of change is difficult, unclear, and uncertain. There will be obstacles you already know of and others that you will discover along the way. People impacted by the change feel that.

So, how to get them on board? How to eventually get their help to overcome obstacles?

The solution we love to use, you guessed it, is to create a network of Change Ambassadors. Why you should involve end users in your project? Because the people undergoing or implementing the change will help you make the transition.

Implementing a Change Ambassador Network will help you to:

  • Get people on board, and keep them involved from start to finish
  • Mitigate the risks of your failure
  • Maintain your project on track
Manage change at scale with a change ambassador network

When do you need a Network of Change Ambassadors?

It’s when you do not require a boat, but rather an armada. So, do build a network when:

  • Your target group is very large,
  • When change challenge is complex (low to medium change difficulty, but a lot of end users)
  • People are a potential bottleneck to your project ROI
  • You actually have enough time to dedicate to it

On the contrary, do not get into building an ambassador network when:

  • Simply if management says no. you do need their full support
  • When the change is complicated (very high change difficulty that impact few people)
  • If the impact of your project is only on process and not on people
  • If it’s urgent or worse, it already should have happen

What are the characteristics of a (good) Change Ambassador?

  • The project motivates her/him and they’re not forced to take part of it. Indeed, they must first accept the change before becoming spreading good words about it!
  • They receive concrete perspective on what they will do, how they will do it and what they’re actual task are goint to be.
  • They have a platform to discuss change with their teams and other ambassadors to get as much input & feedback as possible.
  • They have a solide internal network inside the organization. They’re not a loner, but know who’s who, where is the information and to whom to go to raise specific concerns.
  • They’re credible. They answer every questions they get, and no one questions their answers.
  • They’re supported, not only by project team, but also people in their own team.
  • They’re different from other ambassadors. They are from different levels, backgrounds and havetaken part in different processes and sub-processes impacted by the change.
The 8 characteristics of a (good) Change Ambassador

How to build a Network of Change Ambassadors?

1. Onboard C level management

Sponsors are notoriously difficult to reach. After all, they have a very stressfull and demanding job. Your job is to make sure everyone is unanymously aligned at management level. At all cost, avoid situations like: person 1 say A, person 2 says B and in the end, you have to execute C…

How to do so? Make the right stakeholders agree on the approach below by organizing a common workshop (download our canvases below!).

The 8 roles of C level management in your Change Ambassador Network

2. Involve team leaders

Team leaders suffers from a double pressure. They feel pressure from the top of the org chart to reach goals, and operational level who demands tools to do their job right.

Experience, hard skills, mindset… they have all of it. Sometimes due to a recent promotion to a management position, they might lack change sensitivity. But that’s where you come in!

They still have the feeling that they earned their spot (and they did!). So, interview with our template below them right from the start to make them feel valued.

3. Identify your Change Ambassadors

You want to hunt people who love people (and like to get things done!). Usually, they are empathic team players who are recognized by their close circles for their efficient communication style.

Great, but how to find well-connected people from differnt perspective? Download our stakeholder matrix and run through it with your team leader(s) as a next step of your interview!

How to identify the Ambassadors of your Change Ambassador Network

4. Create Awareness

Make sure your potential ambassadors are actually aware you need their help!

Choose on channel, create templates and use both consistently. A picture is worth a thousand words so make sure to add a healthy amount to make your communications enticing to read (we are big fan fo memes). Freepik, Unsplash or The Noun Project are staples that should cover your image needs.

First impressions matter! A well done kickoff is a project already half-won. So, gather sponsors and key people around a table and make clear what they’ll get out of it by transforming it into a workshop session!

This will get people kicked into gears (and happy people are mor eenclined to be appointed as SPOC)

How to create awareness in your visual communication

5. Make it desirable

The biggest mistake would be to put this on top of business as usual. Rather, pre-book slots, get a manager email validation if needed or use timesheet system, but above all, legitimize the work load your ambassadors will spend on it!

This is also the time where you want to make sure all your ambassadors are aware of what awaits them and have a shared vision. Again, we found the most interesting way is to co-construct it through a workshop plan!

Take your output on the vision of step 5 and let them write their own story on top of it. Guide them through a storytelling workshop session and make them own and share their story.

Management often forgets that once they appoint a taks, they’ve been thinking a lot about it, which makes them have accepted the change. Your team and end users need to go through that process as well! The beauty of this workshop that it takes them fast forward through this whole mental process!

7. Make the change stick

Keep people involved with things as simple as regular communicaiton updates and recurrent meetings. But make them enjoyable! In our Change Management Community, one of the most thought after moment (after the afterworks) is icebreaker of the weekly meeting!

On a more concrete theme, please keep an eye on the adhesion of your own teams via constant feedback loop. It sounds fancy, but anonymous & short feedback forms or QA sessions (Mentimeter is a tool we love for that) work well for that!

Last but not least, celebrate each successes. At one of our customers, a group made such an effort we unlocked a bit of budget to bring them pies!

How to gather feedback in change management

What will you learn from our webinar on building a Network of Change Ambassadors?

After just 60 minutes you’ll see it’s not that hard and the next morning you’ll fly out of bed starting your very own! On top

In a nutshell, expect to learn:

  • Our proven strategy to bring the change toward the people it’s going to impact
  • When to activate an ambassador network to tackle your challenges
  • How to identify the right ambassadors and get them onboard
  • Workshop material, canvases and how to use them
  • How to keep your ambassadors involved from A to Z

Watch our on-demand webinar and get access to our slides and workshop material!