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What is Change Management

Change Management has changed.

20 years ago, it was communications and training. Delivered just before go-live, if you were lucky – or if not – just after, or not at all.

It was the optional extra, the “warm and fluffy people stuff” that HR or an external consultant managed. It was often reactive – used to put out the fires of resistance.

It was seen as a deliverable of Project Management – a item on the project plan, which often became a tick box for an overloaded PM focused on on-time, on-budget delivery.

Today, change is what organisations do, every day, every year.

Every new vision, strategy, business plan, transformation, IT system, relocation, outsourcing and restructure is a change.

A change that only succeeds when end-users embrace, adopt and use the new ways of working. And not go back to the old ways when the project ends.

Organisations don’t change. People change organisations. And people change one at a time, so change needs to be managed at the individual level, not from Level 25 at head office.

So it’s time to change the way we think about – and do – Change Management.

Change is a process, not an event (or an email)

Change is a process in which organisations move from the Current State through the Transition State to the Future State.

The goal of any change is to improve organisational performance, so that the Future State achieves results and benefits – however you define them. Financial. Non Financial. Compliance. Regulatory.

The goal of Project Management is to manage the solution, or technical side of change, so that projects are delivered on time, on budget and meet business requirements.

The goal of Change Management is to transition individuals through their own process of change so that they adopt, embrace and use the change.

Think about these questions:

1. What benefits does a new IT system deliver if no-one uses it?

2. What benefits does an optimised business process deliver if people don’t adopt it?

3. What benefits are achieved if a restructure doesn’t change the way people collaborate and break down the silos?

Answer: None, with large negative Return on Investment when you factor in the costs of the project.

So Change Management is not an optional extra, or a nice to have, it’s a key component in project success and benefit realisation.

As GE put it in the 1980s:

Effectiveness = Quality of the Solution x Acceptance of the Solution.

This hasn’t changed.

A new definition of Change Management

Change Management is the discipline that we use to transition individuals through the process of change, to successfully adopt, use and sustain new ways of working, so that the organisation achieves benefits and outcomes.

Three Levels of Change Management

Individual Level Change Management

“The secret to successful change lies beyond the visible and busy activities that surround change. Successful change, at its core, is rooted in something much simpler: How to facilitate change with one person.” – Jeffrey M Hiatt, founder of Prosci and author of ADKAR, a Model for Change.

Human beings are fascinating creatures. We change from the moment we are born – we learn to walk and talk, we grow into adolescents and adults. We may gain an education, get jobs, make friends, travel, become parents, experience loss. We deal with the many changes that life present us.

To be human is to change.

Yet we can also resist change in our personal lives and at work. Change is not always what we want and human beings can deny and discount change. Sometimes we are right to resist, at other times we are pushing against change that must and will come.

In organisations, Individual Level Change Management consists of understanding the process of change and that change is always a personal choice. It provides a framework for the stages of changes and the factors that enable people to adopt, use and sustain a change in their role.

It forms the basis of Organisational or Project Level Change Management.

Prosci’s ADKAR® Model of individual change is a practical, easy to use framework for individual change, based on Prosci’s 20+ years of research. Everyone can use it to understand individual change and what we can do to help ourselves and others, successfully make a transition.

Organisational or Project Level Change Management

While change happens one person at a time, we can’t manage projects and programs with a Change Management plan for each impacted individual.

Organisational or Project Level Change Management provides a structured, pro-active, repeatable process to manage people through change so the required adoption and usage of the solution is achieved.

We believe it’s important to use a consistent change language, process and tools for all projects across the organisation. Employees and managers on the receiving end of change become familiar with how change happens and what their role is and build their change skills. The organisation builds sustainable change capability and gains a return on its investment in the selected methodology.

Just like with Project Management, standardisation is the smart choice.

Change Management at the project level involves a number of stages and ideally starts at the project initiation stage.

By starting early, change professionals can work with the Sponsor and Project Manager to assess the people side of the change and recommend the level of investment in Change Management required to achieve the target end user adoption and usage. This investment can then be included in the Business Case.

When should Change Management end? A common problem is that it ends with the project – at go live or implementation or soon after. But Change Management should end only when all impacted groups have adopted the change, are using it proficiently and there are no pockets of resistance hiding out in the Current State.

Program and Portfolio Change Management

It’s a natural progression from project-by-project Change Management to taking a Portfolio or Program approach.

The good news is organisations don’t need to invest in a new set of processes or tools to manage the people side of change at the program and portfolio level.

Our approach is to align and integrate Change Management with the existing program and portfolio structures and processes. The key to success is adapting Best Practices to produce a tailored solution that will work effectively across all aspects of program and portfolio management.

More good news – there are now cloud-based technology solutions that produce a real-time, “single view” of all changes across the program or the enterprise with Project Health Dashboards, Heat Maps and more, to improve planning, management and ultimately – benefit realisation and results. For more info, contact us.

Enterprise Change Management

The goal of Enterprise Change Management is to build a change agile organisation. An organisation with the capability to consistently deliver successful change and achieve benefits and outcomes, with highly engaged employees.

In the latest IBM “Making Change Work… while the work keeps changing” Report, about 20% of organisations were reported as highly successful with change.

“Being great at Change Management” becomes embedded in every aspect of how the organisation operates: its leadership capabilities, performance management system, BAU and project delivery…and this takes time and resources.

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