Recently I attended a one-day training program, hosted by a company called Prosci, that teaches a change management methodology that “has become one of the most widely used approaches to managing the people side of change in business and government.”
Prosci used its considerable creativity in naming this methodology with the acronym ADKAR, which stands for:
- Awareness: is there awareness that change is needed?
- Desire: do the key stakeholders impacted by change have a desire to change?
- Knowledge: do the key stakeholders impacted have the knowledge required to undertake change?
- Ability: do the key stakeholders impacted have the literal ability to change?
- Reinforcement: do factors exist that will reinforce the change with the stakeholders impacted over time?
When each aspect is rated on a scale of 1-5, it becomes evident which steps of the process are the strongest and weakest, and therefore which aspects need to be addressed for change to be successful. As a newbie to organizational change management, I found it a practical and effective approach.
I also find ADKAR interesting because it can be applied to developing and executing an effective content marketing strategy – it asks the right primary and secondary questions that all must be addressed for your content marketing to be successful:
- Awareness: Is your audience aware of your organization and its key strengths/value proposition? Can you define your target audience(s)? Is awareness the right part of the purchase funnel to target or do you need to move further down the funnel and focus on consideration or decision? This will inform your decisions on what type of content is required based on the audience profile.
- Desire: What content does your audience desire? I.e., what are the knowledge gaps or key challenges they face that they’d like to address? This will inform what themes or topics your content should focus on.
- Knowledge: Does your target audience know what your your organization’s key strengths are? Has your organization clearly identified what its competitive advantage is (which infers that you’ve conducted a competitive assessment)? This narrows down the themes and topics to be focused on and ensures they reinforce your brand/competitive advantage
- Ability: Does your content give your audience the ability to close their knowledge gaps or address their key challenges? This guides the content development to ensure it’s focused on the audience’s needs and not promoting the organization
- Reinforcement: Does all the content you develop and distribute reinforce your organization’s competitive advantage? Do you have an editorial calendar in place that details what content will be produced over time to create consistency in messaging? Do the specific themes/topics clearly ladder up to your organization’s value proposition?
Although different on the surface from the strategic approach I’ve written about before, underneath, the creatively named ADKAR does ask the same key questions that need to be answered to create an effective strategy. If you’re not happy with the approach you’re currently using, it may be worth managing a change.