A People Focussed Approach to Change Management

In my last few articles, I’ve talked a lot about the use of PuMP as a methodology for designing meaningful measures for change projects. This brings me to another topic that scares even the most well established business – change management.

There are so many common place issues surrounding change management, it’s no wonder that many organisations I’ve worked with struggle to implement change. For some, there is a real fear around change, after all everything is working now so why should we be thinking about changing? For some there is the uncertainty of whether it’s the right choice – how do we know? For others, it’s a lack of involvement from staff – often due to a lack of understanding of why change is needed. If those instigating the change are unsure then how can they possibly lead their staff through such a programme.

Change projects fail when people don’t buy in. Some might view it as extra work, wondering “what’s in it for me?”.  Successful change projects come from owners of the change programme being good leaders, and teams working together. You need to ensure change is happening at an individual level.

An interesting approach to change management aims to tackle these common issues is that promoted by Prosci®. The ADKAR® Model is a goal-oriented change management model to guide individual and organisational change. It is founded on two basic principles. Firstly, it’s people who change, not ‘the organisation’. And secondly, successful change occurs when individual change matches the stages of organisational change.

For successful change to occur, people need to move through each of the stages of ADKAR:

  • Awareness of the need for change and the business reasons for change.
  • Desire to engage and make the change happen.
  • Knowledge about how to change.
  • Ability to implement new skills and behaviours.
  • Reinforcement to ensure the change is long-lasting.

The goals and outcomes defined by ADKAR are sequential and cumulative, they must be achieved in order for effective and sustainable change to take place.

When applied to organisational change, this model allows leaders and change management teams to focus their activities on what will drive individual change and, therefore, achieve organisational results. All staff – employees, managers and senior leaders – can use ADKAR together to describe and discuss change.

For organisational change to be successful, these individual changes need to progress at or close to the same rate of progress through the business dimension of change.

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Prosci defines the business dimension of change as including these typical project elements:

  • Business need or opportunity is identified
  • Concept and design of project is defined (scope and objectives)
    • Business solution is designed (new processes, systems and organisational structure)
    • New processes and systems are developed
  • Solution is implemented into the organisation
  • Post-implementation work and checks are carried out

ADKAR seeks to ensure that these common steps work in tandem with the ‘people’ dimension, engaging staff throughout the project and beyond to help deliver a successful change project.

The final step, Post-Implementation, isn’t really a final step. Using performance measures, the success of the change project is reviewed, and further changes are made. For successful companies, it’s a cyclical process; they are always reviewing and improving.

If you are interested implementing a change program, or you want to monitor how successful a recent program has been , get in touch.

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