Scope of change management
To support the change management debate series, the scope of change management and
specific change management systems need to be defined. This tutorial provides a summary of
each of the main areas for change management based on Prosci's research with more than 400
organizations in the last 5 years.
The purpose of defining these change management areas is to ensure that the debate
topics are meaningful both to the panel and to readers. Tools or components of change
- Change management process
- Readiness assessments
- Communication and communication planning
- Coaching and manager training for change management
- Training and employee training development
- Sponsor activities and sponsor roadmaps
- Resistance management
- Data collection, feedback analysis and corrective action
- Celebrating and recognizing success
Change management process
The change management process is the sequence of steps or activities that a change
management team or project leader would follow to apply change management to a project or
change. Based on Prosci's research of the most effective and commonly applied change, most
change management processes contain the following three phases:
Phase 1 - Preparation, assessment and strategy development
Phase 2 - Detailed planning and change management implementation
Phase 3 - Data gathering, corrective action and recognition
These phases result in the following approach as shown below in Figure 1.
Figure 1 - Change Management Process (the Change Management Toolkit
and Change Management Pilot show you how
to apply the process))
It is important to note what change management is and what change management is not, as
defined by the majority of research participants.
Change management is not a stand-alone process for designing a business solution.
Change management is the processes, tools and techniques for
managing the people-side of change.
Change management is not a process improvement method.
Change management is a method for reducing and managing
resistance to change when implementing process, technology or organizational change.
Change management is not a stand-alone technique for improving organizational
Change management is a necessary component for any organizational
performance improvement process to succeed, including programs like: Six Sigma, Business
Process Reengineering, Total Quality Management, Organizational Development, Restructuring
and continuous process improvement.
Change management is about managing change to realize business
Assessments are tools used by a change management team or project leader to assess the
organization's readiness to change. Readiness assessments can include organizational
assessments, culture and history assessments, employee assessments, sponsor assessments
and change assessments. Each tool provides the project team with insights into the
challenges and opportunities they may face during the change process.
- Assess the scope of the change, including: How big is this change? How many people are
affected? Is it a gradual or radical change?
- Assess the readiness of the organization impacted by the change, including: What is the
value- system and background of the impacted groups? How much change is already going on?
What type of resistance can be expected?
- Assess the strengths of your change management team.
- Assess the change sponsors and take the first steps to enable them to effectively lead
the change process.
Communication and communication planning
Many managers assume that if they communicate clearly with their employees, their job
is done. However, there are many reasons why employees may not hear or understand what
their managers are saying the first time around. In fact, you may have heard that messages
need to be repeated 6 to 7 times before they are cemented into the minds of employees.
That is because each employees readiness to hear depends on many factors. Effective
communicators carefully consider three components: the audience, what is said and when it
For example, the first step in managing change is building awareness around the need
for change and creating a desire among employees. Therefore, initial communications are
typically designed to create awareness around the business reasons for change and the risk
of not changing. Likewise, at each step in the process, communications should be designed
to share the right messages at the right time.
Communication planning, therefore, begins with a careful analysis of the audiences, key
messages and the timing for those messages. The change management team or project leaders
must design a communication plan that addresses the needs of front-line employees,
supervisors and executives. Each audience has particular needs for information based on
their role in the implementation of the change.
Coaching and manager training for change management
Supervisors will play a key role in managing change. Ultimately, the direct supervisor
has more influence over an employees motivation to change than any other person at
work. Unfortunately, supervisors as a group can be the most difficult to convince of the
need for change and can be a source of resistance. It is vital for the change management
team and executive sponsors to gain the support of supervisors and to build change
leadership. Individual change management activities should be used to help these
supervisors through the change process.
Once managers and supervisors are on board, the change management team must prepare a
coaching strategy. They will need to provide training for supervisors including how to use
individual change management tools with their employees.
Training and training development
Training is the cornerstone for building knowledge about the change and the required
skills. Project team members will develop training requirements based on the skills,
knowledge and behaviors necessary to implement the change. These training requirements
will be the starting point for the training group or the project team to develop training
Sponsor activities and sponsor roadmaps
Business leaders and executives play a critical sponsor role in change management. The
change management team must develop a plan for sponsor activities and help key business
leaders carry out these plans. Sponsorship should be viewed as the most important success
factor. Avoid confusing the notion of sponsorship with support. The CEO of the company may
support your project, but that is not the same as sponsoring your initiative.
Sponsorship involves active and visible participation by senior business leaders
throughout the process. Unfortunately many executives do not know what this sponsorship
looks like. A change agent's or project leader's role includes helping senior executives
do the right things to sponsor the project.
Resistance from employees and managers is normal. Persistent resistance, however, can
threaten a project. The change management team needs to identify, understand and manage
resistance throughout the organization. Resistance management is the processes and tools
used by managers and executives with the support of the project team to manage employee
Data collection, feedback analysis and corrective action
Employee involvement is a necessary and integral part of managing change. Managing
change is not a one way street. Feedback from employees is a key element of the change
management process. Analysis and corrective action based on this feedback provides a
robust cycle for implementing change.
Celebrating and recognizing success
Early successes and long-term wins must be recognized and celebrated. Individual and
group recognition is also a necessary component of change management in order to cement
and reinforce the change in the organization.
The final step in the change management process is the after-action review. It is at
this point that you can stand back from the entire program, evaluate successes and
failures, and identify process changes for the next project. This is part of the ongoing,
continuous improvement of change management for your organization and ultimately leads to
These eight elements comprise the areas or components of a change
management program. Along with the change management process, they create a system for
managing change. Good project managers apply these components effectively to ensure
project success, avoid the loss of valued employees, and minimize the negative impact of
the change on productivity and a company's customers. When the debate continues in
January, the term change management will refer to this system of processes and tools for
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Reference 1 - Change Management
Toolkit, Prosci, 2003.