Change management

Implement strategies for effecting change, controlling change and helping people to adapt to change.

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I know what is meant by change management

Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with the transition or transformation of an organization's goals, processes or technologies

Change management is a collective term for all approaches to prepare, support, and help individuals, teams, and organizations in making organizational change.

I know what makes change challenging 3

Different people (and different age groups) have different degrees of tolerance for change, but very few people like it.

Change is scary due to its foreign nature and unpredictable outcome. Also, adapting to change requires effort until the new behaviour is automated, and exerting that effort in order to get there is (at least somewhat) painful.

When you want something or someone to change, you are going against people's instincts for things to remain the same, as that is what they feel the most familiar and comfortable with.


The biggest challenge facing today's change programs is not new technology, but resistance from the individual employee to working differently.

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Change has to be sold (purpose communicated), enabled, driven and followed up on in order for it to stick in the long term.

It is not sufficient to simply state a desire to change, and hope that the change will take effect. 

A 2014 report by PwC revealed that 65% of respondents in corporations cited change fatigue, 44% of employees complained they don’t understand the change they’re being asked to make, and 38% say they don’t agree with it.

A more recent study by Gartner in 2020 suggests that propensity for change fatigue doubled during the pandemic and a 2022 survey by Capterra found similar results.

Source: HBR - To Implement Change, You Don’t Need to Convince Everyone at Once

I know the most common reasons why change initiatives fail

Change initiatives can fail for various reasons, often stemming from a combination of organizational, cultural, and human factors. Some of the most common reasons for the failure of change initiatives include:

  1. Lack of Clear Vision and Strategy: When the purpose and goals of the change initiative are not well-defined or communicated, employees may struggle to understand the purpose of the change and how it fits into the organization's overall strategy.

  2. Poor Leadership and Commitment: Without strong leadership support and commitment to the change, employees might perceive the initiative as lacking importance, leading to a lack of motivation and engagement.

  3. Resistance to Change: People often resist change due to fear of the unknown, loss of control, or concerns about how the change might impact their roles or job security. Overcoming this resistance requires effective communication and involvement of stakeholders in the change process.

  4. Inadequate Communication: Insufficient communication about the reasons for the change, the benefits, the timeline, and the potential impact on employees can lead to confusion, rumors, and a lack of buy-in.

  5. Lack of Employee Involvement: When employees are not consulted or involved in the decision-making process, they may feel alienated or disconnected from the change initiative, reducing their willingness to support it.

  6. Unclear Roles and Responsibilities: If employees are unsure about how the change will affect their roles and responsibilities, they might become disoriented and unproductive.

  7. Insufficient Resources: Change initiatives often require additional resources, such as time, budget, and training. Without proper allocation of resources, the initiative might struggle to succeed.

  8. Inadequate Training and Development: If employees are not adequately trained to adapt to the changes, they may feel unprepared to handle new processes or technologies, leading to frustration and decreased productivity.

  9. Lack of Quick Wins: Demonstrating early successes or "quick wins" can help build momentum and confidence in the change process. Without these wins, employees might lose faith in the initiative's potential.

  10. Incompatible Organizational Culture: If the desired change clashes with the existing organizational culture, it can be challenging to implement successfully. Culture change often requires time and a comprehensive approach.

  11. Scope Creep: When the scope of the change initiative becomes too broad or changes frequently, it can lead to confusion, delays, and increased complexity.

  12. Overlooking Stakeholder Needs: Failing to consider the needs and concerns of various stakeholders, including employees, customers, and partners, can result in discontent and hinder the success of the initiative.

  13. Lack of Metrics and Measurement: Without clear metrics to track progress and measure the impact of the change, it's difficult to assess whether the initiative is succeeding or needs adjustments.

  14. Inadequate Project Management: Proper project management is crucial for organizing tasks, setting milestones, and managing risks. Poor project management can lead to missed deadlines and unexpected challenges.

  15. Change Fatigue: If an organization undergoes frequent changes, employees may experience "change fatigue," causing them to become less receptive to new initiatives.

Successful change management involves addressing these challenges proactively, engaging stakeholders, fostering open communication, and adapting the approach as needed based on feedback and progress.

I understand the components we try to impact when designing change

When we are looking to design change we supply new:

  • Knowledge
  • Insight
  • Data
  • Analysis
  • Perspective

...designed to impact:

  • On an individual level
    • Awareness
    • Understanding
    • Mindset
    • Thought patterns
    • Competence
  • On a team level
    • Alignment
    • Trust
    • Safety
  • On an organizational level
    • Values
    • Culture
    • Structure
    • Process
    • Systems
    • Strategy that we can have a new and sustainable:

  • Behavior
  • Mastery
  • Priorities
  • Relationship dynamics
I understand the steps in creating change

Change is created through the following steps:

  1. Idea
  2. Thoughts
  3. Feelings
  4. Plans
  5. Habits
  6. Commitment
  7. Lifestyle
  8. Change
I know what is required to succeed with change

In order to be successful in our change efforts, we need to be able to successfully pass the following milestones:

  • Vision clarity: Are we clear on what we want the world to look like?
  • Situational clarity: Are we clear on what the current situation is?
  • Problem clarity: Are we clear on what is problematic about the current situation?
  • Mandate: Do we have the permission, authority and position to do something about it?
  • Buy-in: Do people understand and agree on why change is needed?
  • Psychological safety: Do people feel that it's safe to change?
  • Priorities: Do we have the financial and time resources available to invest in making the change a reality?
  • Implementational plan: Have we designed a series of steps that will take us from the undesired to desired state?
I know how many have to be convinced in order for change to take hold

You don’t have to convince a majority for change to take hold. In fact, we have decades of evidence that a significant minority is completely sufficient:

  • Sociologist Everett Rogers’ “S-curve” research showed that it takes only 10%-20% of a system to adopt an innovation for rapid acceptance by the majority to follow.
  • Professor Erica Chenoweth’s analysis of over 300 political revolutions in the past century finds that it only takes 3.5% of the population in a society actively participating to succeed, and many campaigns have prevailed with less.
  • Recent research by sociologist Damon Centola at the University of Pennsylvania suggests that the tipping point for change is getting 25% of people in an organization on board.

So rather than trying to convince the skeptics from the outset, a much more effective strategy is to identify people who are already enthusiastic about the idea and want transformation to succeed.

Source: HBR - To Implement Change, You Don’t Need to Convince Everyone at Once

I know what I should be aware of when implementing change

It is all too common to see the organization through a purely managerial perspective. Especially when changes and adjustments are to be made.

In order to make good decisions about change, information and knowledge is needed from the 'people on the ground': More precisely from those who will realize ambitions, and solve specific tasks for the business (customers, users, etc.).

Here are some questions to consider in order to preserve a bottom-up perspective on change:

  1. Need: What does the need for change look like among the people on the "floor"?
  2. Change history: What do I know about previous changes?
  3. The relation to practice: What knowledge do I have about what takes place in practice?
  4. Visibility: How will people share in the results of the changes?
  5. Participation: How to get involvement that is perceived as useful?

Source: Oscar Amundsen, Professor of Organizational research at NTNU

I know that I have to understand, belive and be confident in what I want to change in order to see it through

If you, yourself, don't have a sufficient

  • Understanding of and ability to articulate why change is needed
  • Belief in that change needs to happen
  • Confidence that the change will produce a better outcome

...others will notice, and they will be more reluctant to follow your lead.

I know that I need to model/exemplify the change that I want to see

People do what other people do, not what other people say.

The old adage "Be the change you want to see in the world" holds particularly true in that the most effective way of inflicting change is to start practicing it yourself.

Modelling the change you want to see shows the people around you how to do it, and that you are confident in the outcomes the change will produce.

I know to start with leadership

In order for a change to be implemented successfully, ownership, training, use and mastery should start amongst leaders and work its way down.

I can motivate people to change how they operate 5

According to Adam Grant, studies have shown that if people are being made explicitly aware of what will stay the same during a change process, they are more likely to buy into that change.

Many think that driving change is about persuasion, so they focus on how to sell the idea, wordsmithing slogans and creating fancy presentation materials. The truth is that feeling the urge to persuade is a warning sign. It means you’re either starting with the wrong people or you have the wrong idea.

A much more effective approach is to leverage early enthusiasts to focus on a keystone change which has a tangible goal, involves multiple stakeholders, and paves the way to greater change. This isn’t necessarily a “small win,” but it should be low-risk enough that a failure won’t be noticeable enough to impede the overall change effort.

For example, at Amarillo College, Lowery-Hart learned that many new students were so fearful of institutions that they would arrive at the parking lot and drive right back out. So, he started posting faculty members as greeters for the first few weeks of the semester. At the Edmonton Police Service, Okere began with two social agencies, Boyle Street and The Mustard Seed that were focused on homelessness and eager to collaborate.

Focusing on a keystone change allows you to get out of the business of selling an idea and into the business of selling a success. At Amarillo College, faculty immediately began to notice that their classes were more full than usual. At the Edmonton Police Service, it turned out that some officers were, in fact, pulling their own private strings to get help for people and the program helped facilitate and magnify those efforts.

When people see that something is working, they want to be involved, and they bring in others who can bring in others still. That’s how you can grow your initiative to reach the 25% participation threshold that tips the system toward widespread change.

Source: HBR - To Implement Change, You Don’t Need to Convince Everyone at Once

I am familiar with change management methodologies 1

Prosci is a methodology and set of tools used for managing organizational change. It is often associated with the Prosci Change Management Process, which provides a structured approach to help individuals and organizations navigate through change effectively. The methodology is widely used in business, government, and non-profit sectors to facilitate successful change initiatives.

Prosci is based on the understanding that people are at the heart of any change and that managing their individual transitions is crucial for overall project success. It emphasizes the importance of addressing the human side of change by focusing on the people impacted, their attitudes, behaviors, and engagement throughout the change process.

The Prosci Change Management Process consists of three phases:

Preparing for Change: This phase involves creating a change management strategy, identifying stakeholders, and assessing the current state of the organization to determine the change readiness.

Managing Change: In this phase, the focus is on developing and implementing change management plans, communicating the change, engaging and supporting employees, and addressing resistance and obstacles.

Reinforcing Change: The final phase aims to ensure that the change is integrated into the organization's culture and practices. This involves evaluating the effectiveness of the change, collecting feedback, providing ongoing support, and making adjustments as needed.

Prosci provides a range of tools and resources to support change management practitioners, including assessments, templates, training programs, and a community of practitioners who share knowledge and best practices.

It's worth noting that while Prosci is a well-established and widely adopted change management methodology, there are other approaches and frameworks available as well. Organizations may choose to adapt or combine different methodologies based on their specific needs and preferences.


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