The Super User Value Proposition
Super User. Change Agent. Change Champion. Ambassador. These are the terms used to describe the various roles needed to support organizational change. Change Agents and Change Champions are usually easy to explain, but we often get stuck when trying to describe the role of a Super User and the value they provide during change.
Super Users are accelerators who help design, test, train, and support change, smoothing dips in productivity and shepherding the organization to adoption and long-term sustainment. They are leaders of change at a grassroots level, inspiring others to learn about, accept, and commit to the change.
While Super Users are typically employed for technical projects, they can also be engaged for other changes including mergers & acquisitions and business process improvement. Regardless of the type of change and the responsibilities defined, the qualities of a great Super User directly correlate to the value Super Users bring to change. They are not two distinct lists, but rather one powerful list of attributes which represent a commitment to the organization and that translates to value:
Functional Expertise. Not only are Super Users great at their job, but they understand the full span of their functional area – how each process step ties to the next, how the systems work, and how business users fit into the operation.
The Value Prop: Their functional expertise helps the team identify pain points and provide practical, innovative solutions to improve a business.
A Forward View. Part of the difference between “as is” and “to be” is a state of mind. Great Super Users are not stuck in the legacy mindset (“We’ve always done it this way because…”) but rather they consistently ask, “How can we do this differently to better serve our customers, stakeholders, and/or shareholders?”
The Value Prop: The forward-looking Super User opens doors to new opportunities for an organization to be more effective and efficient, and improve its alignment to business goals.
Respect and Influence. Great Super Users have credibility with their colleagues both above and below them in the organization. They are trusted by peers for their expertise and forward thinking and have garnered the ability to influence others in challenging situations.
The Value Prop: The respect they’ve earned and the trust they’ve built allow Super Users to influence and inspire others to voluntarily commit to change.
A Willingness to Champion Change. Not all Super Users will support a change from the start because they may not fully understand the change at hand. And that’s okay! Great Super Users want to learn and explore new ideas, and they have a high level of mental agility and resilience. It’s up to the change leadership to provide information they need so they can actively champion your change.
The Value Prop: Great Super Users are willing to gather information, embrace the change, and bring others through the change experience at a tangible level. They will meet the business users where they are and guide them towards the future state.
A Desire to Teach and Mentor Others. Teaching others is not only about formal training delivery. Supporting communication efforts, explaining concepts, discussing change benefits, and providing on-the-ground-support during and after go-live are all part of teaching others about the change. If they are provided with the tools and avenues for these activities to happen, great Super Users will jump in and bring others on board.
The Value Prop: Super Users who make themselves available and spend extra time with business users help close the gap between formal training and go-live. They offer on-the-job support and in-depth discussions about the nuances of change not often provided in the classroom setting or official communication channels.
Super User selection should be thoughtful and rigorous. Be picky, take some time, and use the qualities above to identify the ideal partners in change. Once selected, Super Users should come together as a group to set clear expectations and provide practical channels for learning and discussion. Through these actions, companies will realize the significant value Super Users bring during, and long after, a significant organizational change.