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Applying BLUF to Change Management:
Delivering Results and Outcomes

 

One of Prosci's Master Instructors, Butch Alligood, came to Prosci following a career in the United States Air Force. Butch often speaks about the BLUF principle of communication. BLUF is an acronym that stands for "Bottom Line Up Front" - the idea that by beginning with a concise statement of the bottom line, a conversation or written communication can more quickly get to the point. This tutorial applies the BLUF principle to communicating the value of change management. By beginning with the bottom line, your efforts to demonstrate the value and benefit of change management can be more effective.

So, to heed our own advice, here is the BLUF for change management:

Change management drives project benefit realization and is necessary whenever a
project's results and outcomes depend on individuals adopting and using a solution.

 

What is the bottom line?

When an organization implements a change, no matter the size or nature or type, the bottom line is to improve the performance of the organization in some meaningful way. The change may be to fix a problem or to seize an opportunity. It may result from customer, competitive or internal pressures. It may be incremental in nature or it may be a radical new way of operating. It may impact a few workgroups or it may impact the entire organization. It may impact behaviors, processes, tools, technology, organizational structures or job roles. But, regardless of the nature of the change, organizations launch projects and initiatives to improve performance - to reach a future state that is better than the current state.

For a change to be "successful," performance must actually be improved in the meaningful way that was intended. There are various phrases used to describe this, including:

  • Benefit realization
  • Value creation
  • Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Results and outcomes

The bottom line of change is this: to realize benefits and create value.

 

How can you connect change management to the bottom line?

Over the last decade, Prosci has worked to define the value of change management in terms of project success, benefit realization, value creation and achievement of ROI. This shift has had a significant impact on the overall credibility and adoption of change management. However, many practitioners are still facing challenges about the value and need for change management. To engage a project team or senior leader, a change management practitioner needs to be able to directly and convincingly connect change management to the bottom line of the project.

You can make the connection in various ways. Below are four approaches you can use to make this connection:

Change management directly contributes to the bottom line of the project because...

  • In order for the organization to reach an intended future state, impacted employees must reach their own future states. The cornerstone of creating improvement is individuals doing their jobs a new way. Change management places the necessary focus on where change actually occurs - at the individual employee level.
  • When the people side of change is ignored or mismanaged, there are additional costs and risks. These costs and risks emerge at both the project level and the organizational level, and include things like active and passive resistance, morale declines, loss of valued employees, delays, and inefficiencies from rework. Change management can help avoid costs and mitigate risks on the project.
  • There are three people side of change factors that directly contribute to or constrain the project Return on Investment:
    1) Speed of adoption (how quickly employees get on board); 2) Ultimate utilization (how many employees get on board vs. how many opt out or find work arounds); 3) Proficiency (how effective employees are once they make the transition). Change management enables achievement of ROI through faster speed of adoption, higher ultimate utilization and greater proficiency.
  • Data from numerous sources show a direct correlation between change management effectiveness and likelihood of meeting objectives. Additionally, projects with more effective change management are more likely to finish on schedule and to be completed on budget. Change management effectiveness correlates to project success.

The bottom line of change management is this: to ensure benefit realization and value creation by addressing the people side of change and by driving required adoption and usage of change solutions.

 

Having the "right" conversation

In a recent Prosci webinar, attendees were asked if they were having the "right" conversation. The "right" conversation was defined as one that focuses on change management's contribution to project results and outcomes. The data shows that many practitioners still struggle with the focus of their conversation.

When presenting change management to project teams and senior leaders, it is easy to fall back on describing the work you will do as a change management practitioner - conducting impact analyses, building communication plans, conducting training sessions. While these are important activities, they do not focus on what the project team or senior leader cares about.

A conversation that centers on project and organizational success will resonate and connect more with your audiences, and will start the shift of change management from a "nice to have" to a "must have."

 

Conclusion

BLUF means "Bottom Line Up Front" - it means starting your conversation or communication with the important conclusions. BLUF provides valuable insights for changing how you talk about change management. The bottom line for change is benefit realization and value creation, improving the performance of the organization with a project or an initiative. To use BLUF then, the bottom line for change management is how you can directly contribute to project benefit realization and value creation. By shifting your conversation from what you do to what you deliver - benefit realization through employee adoption and usage - you will be more effective in building the support and buy-in you need from project managers and senior leaders. When you introduce change management to a project team or a senior leader, are you starting with the bottom line?

 

 

Interested in adopting Prosci as your organizational standard?

Prosci offers enterprise site licenses that allow you to leverage Prosci's world-leading research and methodologies in your organization. With enterprise site licenses, you are able to customize Prosci's processes and tools to fit your organization, integrate Prosci's models into existing processes and project management approaches, translate tools and materials into multiple languages, lower the cost of training delivery and truly build your organization's change management capabilities and competencies.

Contact a Prosci Account Manager at +1-970-203-9332 or changemanagement(at)prosci(dot)com to discuss your change management needs and how Prosci's research-based, holistic, easy-to-use solutions can work for you.

 

 

 

 


 

 

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Offerings for applying Prosci's change management methodologies:

Licensing:

  • Prosci's site licenses are a great solution for building change management capabilities and competencies throughout your organization. With a site license, you can customize and integrate Prosci's world-leading research and methodologies to fit your organization and begin building the individual competencies necessary for true change capability. Contact a Prosci Account Manager at +1-970-203-9332 or changemanagement@prosci.com to discuss your change management needs and how Prosci's research-based, holistic, easy-to-use solutions can work for you.

Training:

  • Change management certification ($2800) - attend Prosci's 3-day certification program where you bring your own current change project to the session and learn to use Prosci's tools through practical application - taught by former fortune 500 executives at locations across the US - includes over $1000 in products, including the Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking report, the Change Management Toolkit and the Change Management Pilot Pro 2012
  • Train-the-trainer ($3500) - learn how to teach Prosci change management training programs in your organization
  • Onsite training - bring Prosci to your location for 3-day certification programs, 4-6 hour executive briefings, 1-day manager programs or 1-day employee programs - call +1-970-203-9332 for more information

Methodology tools:

  • Change Management Toolkit ($389) - hardcopy 3-ring binder presenting the Prosci Change Management Methodology, includes templates, checklists and assessments for managing the people side of change (includes USB)
  • Change Management Pilot Pro 2012 ($489) - online tool including the Prosci Change Management Methodology, eLearning modules and downloadable templates, assessments, presentations and checklists
  • Change Management Guide for Managers and Supervisors ($209) - tools to help supervisors engage and coach their direct reports through change
  • PCT Analyzer ($149/$349) - web-based tool for collecting PCT Assessment data, analyzing results, identifying risks and developing action steps

References and books:

  • Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking report ($289 / quantity discounts available) - journal-style report with lessons learned and best practices from 650 participants, presented in an easy-to-use format - reads as a checklist of what to do and what not to do
  • Change Management: the people side of change ($18.95 / quantity discounts available) - a primer for anyone involved in organizational change that addresses why manage change, individual change management and organizational change management
  • ADKAR: a model for change ($18.95 / quantity discounts available) - the definitive work on the Prosci ADKAR® Model
  • Employee's Survival Guide to Change ($14.95 / quantity discounts available) - a handbook to help employees survive and thrive during change, answers frequently asked questions and empowers employees to take charge of change

 

 

*** Prosci also offers leadership packages - groupings of products at discounts that offer you some of the most helpful and common combinations of Prosci change management resources

 

 

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