Richard Batchelor

Change Management & Strategic Human Resources

September 6  2011

Managing Change Acceptors

These people are the change reactors are like the best. I know you shouldn’t have favourites, but these are the people I like to deal with the most when introducing any change to a business.

I’ll talk you through their typical reactions to change. Actually it’s probably easier to give an example conversation.

Me: So we are going to be changing the current process for applications. I’ve got the revised process flow on the screen behind me. You will see the main changes are … … this means that your teams will need to restructure … ... there will be training; information sessions … … and we are aiming to get this change through in the next six weeks.

Acceptor: Ok! Just tell me what I need to do when.

So that is probably the biggest understated response going – but I want to be clear, this is not apathy. Apathy we cover in resistors that we will talk about next. They may not jump for joy when there is a change event, but acceptors are ready to make the change.

The biggest management challenges you may have here are of least concern. An acceptor will need to see the change progressing, so you need to keep them informed of what is happening and similarly how they are involved, or not. Always ensure you explain why they are not involved, but who might be included e.g. you may be dealing with the telephone process before moving to change the paper process of some new business communications methods.

The other challenges that an acceptor presents are usually nothing more than basic communications and meeting training needs. Generally the acceptor is the person that wants to perform at their best for and within the business. This brings you round to their need for learning and development activities to understand new systems, processes or engagement activities. They want to be able to perform quickly following the change so they want to take on what’s new as soon as possible with the least amount of disruption. This is why I love these people so much – they want to do what I want to do.

You can take advantage of the acceptors willingness to take on the changes to help others. They are great to be coaches and mentors for new processes as they are keen to take them on from the first opportunity. They are also great for getting encouragement and agreement at large communications events. They are also the best placed people to dilute enthusiast’s energy by keeping a reality check. They may both be keen to take on the new processes, but the acceptor will ensure it is done with less speed and more haste.

I would say that for most organisations between a third and 40% of the business is made up of acceptors. This of course may vary slightly as they can drift into enthusiasm if the change is very pertinent to them or they can drop to resistance if they are not communicated with properly and given the right learning opportunities.

  

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