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Welcome to the Change Management Tutorial Series

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The case for change management:
The individual is the unit of change

In Prosci's 2007 and 2009 benchmarking studies, the top trend identified by study participants was a greater recognition of the need for and value of change management. While some find themselves in a situation where change management is being requested, many other practitioners are still working diligently to make a compelling case for the need for change management. For these practitioners, Prosci is releasing a five part series on the case for change management. Learn how to effectively "sell" change management to project leaders and executives in your organization by directly connecting change management to project and organizational outcomes.

This is the second tutorial of the series. The focus of this tutorial is showing how change ultimately occurs at the individual level - that the individual is the unit of change. For changes to be successful individuals must make their own successful transitions, and change management provides a structured approach for encouraging those individual changes.


The reality of change

In the end, change ultimately comes to life one individual at a time. Organizational change starts with an issue or opportunity that can come from a variety of places - strategic direction, annual planning, competitive landscape, customer demands, internal performance metrics, regulation, legislation, etc. Those issues or opportunities are then transformed into some sort of structured project or initiative - which can be accompanied by any number of tools like a charter, a schedule, a work breakdown structure, a budget, resource requirements, a timeline, etc. The project or initiative then cascades down to individual processes and behaviors - how specific individuals do their job and how the project or initiative impacts how they do their job. This is how change happens - issue or opportunity -> project or initiative -> individual processes and behaviors. And ultimately it is individuals doing their jobs differently that results in a successful and sustainable change.


Examples in organizations

Think about the following three simple scenarios:

Scenario Value if everyone adopts Value if no one adopts
Process change that impacts a workgroup of 15 $125,000 $0
Technology change that impacts 150 employees $780,000 $0
Transformational initiative that impacts 1,500 employees $1,655,000 $0

While the numbers in the second column are hypothetical, the numbers in the last column are not. A new process creates no improvement unless individuals follow the process. Likewise, a new tool or system delivers no value if individuals do not use the tool or system. Change ultimately comes to life through individuals doing their jobs differently.


Examples in society

The Keep America Beautiful campaign in the United States is a great example of how an organizational change (in this case, the "organization" is the population in general) ultimately comes to life through individual behaviors. The movement started in 1953 in response to the growing litter problem facing the country and its new highway system. The focus of the effort was to encourage people to dispose of their garbage properly, reducing the amount of litter in the environment. Over the last six decades, Keep America Beautiful has included public service announcements, media campaigns, and programs delivered in schools to educate children about littering and how to prevent it.

The program has been successful at reducing the amount of litter present along the roads and in public areas in the United States. But the "change" - or read another way, the reduction of litter - ultimately happened one person at a time. The success of the change was tied to each individual who made the decision to find a garbage can instead of tossing litter out the car window. The unit of change was the individual - and the success of the program was ultimately tied directly to individuals changing their behaviors. This is not too different from organizational projects and initiatives.


The unit of change is the individual

In the end, the unit of change in an organization is the individual. You can think about each person whose job is impacted by a project or initiative as a building block. The change is only successful if each building block is placed in the wall. Even if a project impacts thousands or tens-of-thousands of employees, success is based on the cumulative result of those thousands or tens-of-thousands of employees doing their jobs differently. For each block that is not added, the change is weakened and results and outcomes are compromised.


The role of change management

This perspective - that change occurs at the individual level and success depends on each employee adopting the change - may make managing change seem unwieldy and complicated. However, decades of research and development in the field of change management have resulted in proven methodologies and approaches for creating large scale change by encouraging and enabling individual transitions.

Prosci's approach provides methodologies and tools for both individual change management and organizational change management. On the individual front, Prosci's ADKAR® Model describes the five building blocks of successful change as Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement™ - when an individual has each of these elements they can make a change successfully. In order to create these numerous individual changes, organizational change management provides a structured process and toolset. Prosci's organizational change management methodology follows a three-phase process of Preparing for change, Managing change and Reinforcing change™ - which allows practitioners to create scaled, customized plans for moving individuals through the ADKAR® steps.

The essence of change management is encouraging and enabling the individual transitions resulting from a project or an initiative. Because change happens one person at a time, change management provides a critical component for achieving project outcomes and results. At the most basic level, if individuals don't adopt and embrace a change, results will not be achieved. But the more effectively we can enable and encourage those individual transitions using change management, the more successful our projects and initiatives will be.



Coming up: the correlation data, the three "people side" ROI factors, and the costs and risks of poorly managing change




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Order online - secure server Order the Change Management Toolkit or Change Management Pilot for complete change management assessments, templates, guidelines and plans



Prosci Change Management Certification

Program highlights:
  • Apply the methodology as you learn it on a real project
  • Learn from experienced executive instructors
  • Become part of a change management community
  • Earn 2.4 CEUs, 24 PDUs and 23.5 HRCI recertification credits
  • Walk away with products and course materials worth over $1000

Download the certification program brochure

Upcoming sessions with availability:

  • April 12 - 14, 2011: Denver, CO area  - Teams only
  • April 19 - 21, 2011: Tampa, FL area - OPEN
  • April 19 - 21, 2011: San Francisco, CA area - OPEN
  • April 26 - 28, 2011: Chicago, IL area - Teams only
  • May 10 - 12, 2011: Chicago, IL area - OPEN
  • May 24 - 26, 2011: Washington DC area - OPEN
  • June 7 - 9, 2011: San Francisco area - OPEN
  • June 14 - 16, 2011: Denver, CO area - OPEN

Visit the certification training page

Email a certification inquiry or call
970-203-9332 to register today.

"The best training class I have had in years. Goes way beyond the strategy and framework and focuses on real world problems and the tools to solve them."
- Jennifer J., April 2009 participant

"This was the most effective and engaging course I've ever taken. I feel that I can truly use this knowledge in my personal and professional life immediately."
- Lisa S., February 2009 participant

"Awesome - truly one of the most beneficial programs I have ever attended - immediate application on the job!"
- Robin S., March 2009 participant

"This program absolutely over-delivered my expectations. I now feel more prepared and better equipped to do my job."
- Paul S., January 2009 participant



Offerings for applying Prosci's change management methodologies:


  • Change management certification ($2800)- 3-day program where you bring a project you are working on and apply all of the assessments and tools as you learn them - 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 2010
  • 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 Prosci's change management methodology, includes templates, checklists and assessments for managing the people side of change (includes USB drive)
  • Change Management Pilot Pro 2010 ($449) - online tool including Prosci's change management methodology, eLearning modules and downloadable templates, assessments, presentations and checklists
  • Change Management Guide for Managers and Supervisors ($189) - tools to help supervisors engage and coach their direct reports through change (includes 4 copies of the Employee's Survival Guide)
  • 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 Prosci's 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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Email a Prosci analyst or call 970-203-9332 with questions about the methodology, its application, or finding the right resources to support your change management activities.




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