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Have you ever wanted something?
Really wanted something?
Desire is a powerful emotion.
It can drive us to do great things.
Or it can destroy us…
Within the ADKAR Model, desire is one of the key drivers of change. It is the want or need for something that is not currently possessed among the employees within an organization.
With desire, employees make a personal decision to accept and embrace a change. This is different from compliance, where employees may go through the motions but not actually adopt the change.
And desire is far better than force - which puts team members in a position of resistance with the risk involved.
In order for change to be successful, individuals must have a desire to make it happen. This can come from many places - a need to improve current conditions, a want for something different, or even a sense of duty to the organization.
But whatever the source, it is this desire that will spur employees to take action.
How Desire Leads to Adoption
Within the ADKAR Model, desire is the key driver of adoption. It is what motivates employees to take action and make the change happen.
There are many things that can influence desire:
-A need to improve current conditions
-A want for something different
-A sense of duty to the organization
Whatever the source, desire comes from a specific need that the company is trying to address. And it is this desire that will spur employees to take action and ultimately adopt the change.
That desire - once harnessed in the process of change - can become a truly powerful force. Even if it's only 10% of a company that actually chooses desire, that's still a huge impact.
But What About Fear?
While desire is the key driver of adoption, fear can be just as powerful - albeit in a different way. Fear can lead to resistance and inaction, two things that can sabotage even the best-laid plans.
So how do you harness the power of desire while avoiding the pitfalls of fear?
The answer lies in understanding the difference between the two emotions.
Fear is an emotion that arises from a perceived threat. It is a survival mechanism that tells us to avoid danger.
Desire, on the other hand, is a positive emotion. It is what motivates us to take action and go after what we want.
When it comes to change, fear arises when employees feel like they are losing something - their job, their status, their way of doing things. Desire, on the other hand, comes from a place of wanting something better.
For example, companies that are making a shift from one system to Office365 may be worried about the potential for falling behind or not understanding the new system. But when they take the time to educate their employees on the benefits of the change - how it will make their jobs easier and help the company be more productive - then desire starts to take over.
And that's when things really start to happen.
How to Inspire Desire
While you can't force desire in all cases, there are ways to inspire it. For example, imagine that you are introducing the concept of Sharepoint or OneDrive to your company.
You may not be able to make everyone want to use it, but you can help them see the benefits of doing so. You can set desire by getting into the midst of your people and learning their pain points:
"Hey John, are there any areas where you feel like you're constantly having to search for information? Maybe there's a better way we can share documents so you don't have to keep going back and forth."
"Hey Sarah, do you ever feel like you're emailing the same thing over and over again? If we had a central place where we could post updates, you wouldn't have to keep sending out those emails."
By showing employees how the change can benefit them, you can start to create a desire for it. And when people have a desire for something, they are much more likely to take action and make it happen.
Don't be afraid to throw in a few incentives, too. Whether it's a contest, a prize, or simply recognition for those who adopt the change early on, incentives can go a long way in inspiring desire.
For example, Microsoft Office365 allows users to earn "badges" that honour them as "champions" of particular programs. This is a great way to create some friendly competition and show employees that there are tangible benefits to using the new system.
When There's No Desire
Sadly, there will always be cases where desire cannot be inspired. In these situations, it's important to focus on what you can control: yourself.
You can't make someone want something they don't already desire, but you can set an example. Be the first person to use the new system, the first person to adopt the change.
Even your best demo or benefit-packed presentation will fall on deaf ears. In these cases, you may still need to explain the potential risks of not changing - but do so in a way that doesn't invoke fear.
For example, "If we don't start using Office365, we will fall behind our competitors" is a much better way to approach the situation than "If we don't start using Office365, we will all be fired."
The former focuses on the company's goals, while the latter focuses on the individual's fears. And when it comes to change, it's always better to focus on the positive.
Can You Measure Desire?
As with all steps of ADKAR, measurement is key. You need to know whether or not employees are taking action and moving towards the change. In the case of desire, this can be tricky - after all, it's an internal emotion and therefore harder to track.
There are a few ways to measure whether or not employees are starting to desire the change:
● Are they asking questions about it? This is a good sign that they're interested and want to learn more.
● Are they talking about it with their colleagues? If employees are sharing information about the change with others, it's a good sign that they're starting to get excited about it.
● Are they taking action? If employees are starting to use the new system or adopt the new behavior, it's a good sign that they're starting to desire the change.
If you see employees moving from not wanting the change to wanting it, congratulations! You've successfully inspired desire and moved one step closer to successful change.
Jumping from Desire to Knowledge
When you better understand the role that desire plays in change, you can start to see how it can be used to create real, lasting transformation.
It's one thing to get people to want something - but it's another thing entirely to get them to actually do it. The key is to turn that desire into knowledge.
You can't just tell people to start using Office365 and expect them to know what to do. You need to provide them with the resources they need to succeed. That means training, manuals, cheat sheets, and anything else that will help them understand how to use the new system.
And once they have that knowledge, they can start to take action and make the change happen.
So if you're looking to create lasting change in your organization, don't underestimate the power of desire. It may not be easy to come by, but it's always worth the effort.
Want to learn more about how to distil key digital adoption techniques? Don't miss a single episode of Office 365 Distilled - the only podcast focused on digital adoption. You can also check out more great resources on Digital Efficiency, ADKAR, and Baseline Governance.
Let Steve and Marijn guide you and your teams through the best ways to use, implement, and guide the adoption of Office 365 for your team (with a few drinks along the way!)
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