Becoming a Change Agent


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Businesses want return on their web investment. To do that, user experience professionals need to step out from behind the screen, take a seat at the table, balance user and business needs, and create a positive environment for change. Armed with an approach I sometimes call “strategic nagging,” this is the story of how I became a change agent using IA and content strategy to transform the 160-year-old American Society of Civil Engineers for a digital-first world.

Let’s talk about honing the empathic, organisational, and analytical skills we already have to diffuse disruption and work with people and processes, as well as information. Patience and persistence makes our message pervasive so we can motivate decision-makers, find allies, persuade detractors, and provide direction to practitioners.

When I became ASCE’s Web Director in January 2013, I thought I’d tinker with some content management issues, help rewrite some content, and provide governance guidance. Little did I know that I would use change management tactics disguised as web strategy, design, and development to get them to adopt an overarching digital strategy to better reach its members, grow revenue, and start to make stuff that really matters. We’re reaching a pivotal moment, and this is the story so far.

Published in: Technology

Becoming a Change Agent

  1. 1. Becoming a Change Agent Carrie Hane Dennison @carriehd #edui_change
  2. 2. done it that way. Well, the way we do it now We should put this up because someone might want it.
  3. 3. True But Useless
  4. 4. 1989 1995
  5. 5. 250+ staff, 9 on web & social media team > 145,000 members - 40% over 50 & male Founded 1852 Hired Web Director January 2013
  6. 6. Rewriting content strategically Updating CMS Revise website section by section Implementing governance Building on established user experience practice What I am doing Redesigning website Introducing the concept of strategy & UX Pushing change /disrupting everything Creating a UX practice Pushing for digital strategy
  7. 7. CHANGE MANAGEMENT LEADERSHIP What this really is
  8. 8. Address emotional and rational sides of people
  9. 9. Elephant & Rider
  10. 10. Elephant Emotional Side Lazy and skittish Looks for instant gratification Just wants to get things done
  11. 11. Rider Rational Side Holds the reins & seems to be the leader Spins wheels
  12. 12. Directing the rider
  13. 13. Motivate the elephant Analyze-Think-Change See-Feel-Change
  15. 15. Strategic Nagging Patient but persistent repetition of a message
  16. 16. Vulnerability Communication Leadership Patience
  17. 17. Vulnerability Communication Leadership Patience
  18. 18. Vulnerability Communication Leadership Patience
  19. 19. Vulnerability Communication Leadership Patience
  20. 20. Portrait of a change agent Thick skinned Open minded Willing to listen Passionate Believes in expertise Willing to take a seat at the table and speak up
  22. 22. We have the skills Listening Empathy Organizational skills Analysis Translation Diplomacy Governance
  23. 23. We ask the hard questions What are your priorities? What are your business objectives? What do our customers want?
  24. 24. It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission. Grace Hopper
  25. 25. Only digital workers fully understand the problem and can see a solution. Paul Boag Digital Adaptation
  26. 26. Strategic Nagging PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE
  27. 27. © Carsten ten Brink
  28. 28. Not Us vs. Them Us + Them
  29. 29. Educate
  30. 30. Communicate
  31. 31. Evangelize
  32. 32. Define the vision
  33. 33.
  34. 34. Share your vision Enablers Executives Orchestrators Architects Practitioners Senior Manager Middle Manager Worker Worker Worker Middle Manager Worker Worker Worker Senior Manager Middle Manager Worker Worker Worker Middle Manager Worker Worker Worker
  35. 35. Celebrate short-term wins
  36. 36. Progress is more important than perfection.
  38. 38. The best defense is a good offense.
  39. 39.
  40. 40. Empathize
  41. 41. Invite them in
  42. 42. Reframe
  43. 43. Let others speak
  45. 45. Be vulnerable
  46. 46. Lead the way
  47. 47. Recruit others
  48. 48. Work together
  49. 49. Be the man behind the curtain
  50. 50. Be a change leader
  51. 51. Where things are today Redesign Governance Building digital team Think strategically Think user first
  52. 52. For the first time, I feel like have a good website. Can I come up and talk to you Can we triage [this problem]?
  53. 53. What can you do tomorrow? Invite yourself to a meeting or speak up Talk to someone who you have never talked to before Ask more questions Think about where someone else is coming from
  54. 54. Thank you! (and Good Luck!) Carrie Hane Dennison @carriehd
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