GDPR is a Behavioural Change

GDPR training = Change

Having studied for my GDPR awareness certificate last week I now feel informed of the technical aspects of the legislation and how it impacts my marketing work.

However, the technical changes I need to make will only happen if I decide to stop doing certain actions and start doing new things. So the secret to GDPR compliance is my willingness to change my behaviour. GDPR is a behavioural Change Programme but in the majority of organisations it is not being led by Change Practitioners.

Creating enthusiasm for GDPR change

Those organisations that will be able to claim compliance after the May 2018 deadline will be those that have supported their staff through the cycle of Behavioural Change.

This starts with creating enough enthusiasm that people are willing to listen to information about what GDPR involves and how things have changed under this new legislation. This is no easy task as legislation about data protection excites very few of us!

Brilliant Change Management Practitioners are able to communicate in a way that makes the change relevant, useful and valuable to everyone. Help people see how the new rules will give them more chances to talk to their customers. Help them see how the changes will lead to a clearer understanding of the data that already exists in your organisation and where they can find it.

Detailing the work involved

The next step is to ensure everyone has enough of a detailed understanding of what GDPR involves to work out for themselves how they need to change what they do. Be available to answer specific questions. Provide opportunities for colleagues to workshop with others what they think the impact will be and where in their existing processes this impact will occur.

People only change their behaviour if they can decide for themselves what they need to do. The alternative is to give people instructions about what they need to do and then check they are following your demands. However, that means they haven’t really thought it through. There is no real ownership. The changes are yours not theirs. As soon as there is no checking up on what they do they are likely to revert back to how they used to work.

Developing ownership of the change

To develop the ownership involve as wide a population as possible in the creation of new ways of working. By bringing together people from all over your organisation they can share their insights on the changes they feel are necessary. This will give you a much richer set of changes than you could identify for yourself and those that identified them will have true ownership of them. This means they are more likely to take action because they understand what they need to do as well as from a personal perspective why they need to do them.

As with all Change programmes, it is best to develop an approach, clarifying the desired new ways of working, the new capabilities your organisation will have. This ‘vision’ is an essential element of change, because the more detail you can define, the easier it is for everyone involved to imagine what good looks like. A powerful description can lead to a compelling, unifying goal.

My advice for GDPR is to get talking, to start the process of describing in increasing detail what effective data management practices look like for your business.