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Pattern: Internal Evangelism

Provide plenty of information about the transformation across the entire company right from the start to create understanding, acceptance of, and support for the initiative

Cloud native transformation is underway, and the Core Team is working hard to understand the challenge and build a high-quality platform with a clear way toon board old and new applications to it. The rest of the teams are not yet involved inthe transformation, and it may take a few months, even a year, before they are all onboarded to the cloud native new platform.

In This Context

When there is little information about an ongoing cloud native transformation,people don’t automatically assume it’s a good idea. People don’t resist the transformation because they think it is the wrong thing to do—they resist because it is new and scary. Change creates anxiety, and most people just don’t know much about cloud native in general. Without clarity, people tend to fill in the gaps with imaginary negative information (negative attribution bias), and they may fear their jobs will be dramatically different—or even eliminated.
Most people enter the transformation process from a traditional Waterfall hierarchy.In such organizations, managers have always just told them what to do. Cloud native teams, however, are highly independent and so require full participation and active involvement from all members. Without motivation to learn and do it right, the result could be disastrous for the company, as only a few teams will fully embrace the cloud native way of working.
• People have a lot of ways to resist by dragging their feet or even actively sabotaging an initiative.
• People need to be encouraged to behave differently.
• Punishment works to stop behaviors, but it will not work to inspire and engage people with new behaviors.
• People do not automatically receive a new message. They need many touchpoints to hear the new story until they accept and internalize it.
• Negative attribution bias: if you aren’t telling them about the change, they assume no progress is being made/nothing is happening.

Therefore

Share positive, clear, and abundant information about the transformation to create acceptance, support, and even excitement across the company.Metamorphosing an organization’s tech and especially culture is a tribal movement. If people are not sure whether it’s a good idea, then you need to help them understand.Negative attribution bias can be powerful here: without enough info, you fill in the gaps with negativity. The solution is to fill in the gaps with a lot of information all the time—not just about what is happening, but why, how these changes will benefit the entire organization.• Organize events, send newsletters, show demos. Essentially, do internal marketing.
• Tell the story over and over in a positive and inspirational way, rather than a “do this or else” way.
• Internal Evangelism should be led by someone who is committed and knowledgeable and involved. This person makes it public, involves people, and creates the movement.
• It’s imperative the evangelist demonstrates good knowledge of the business itself and what it does now, so their opinion is trusted as being informed and based on thoughtful judgment.
• The Transformation Champion is a possible candidate for this role, but only if it does not distract from their duties leading the transformation itself.

Consequently

The transformation is understood across the organization, and people feel motivated to join and support it. There is plenty of time and opportunity to mitigate any resistance originating through fear of uncertainty.
+ People have had time to get comfortable with the idea.
+ The message starts out very simple and gradually grows more detailed as both the project and the acceptance progress.
+ Small projects and experiments are opportunities for evangelism.