Change management - Frequently Asked
Prosci analysts are always available to answer questions about change
management. This new tutorial series will be a place for our analysts to
capture and share some of the most frequently asked questions. We will
be updating the page on an ongoing basis, so you may want to bookmark
the page and come back periodically to see what new questions have been added.
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|Jump to a specific FAQ:
- Why is change management different than other recent
- Is it necessary to create a "burning platform" in
order to create awareness of the need to change?
are the most important things to do to get my managers
and supervisors supporting change management?
- What is
the ROI of change management?
- We have had limited
success with written forms of communication for building
awareness. Why are these communication channels not
- How do I share Prosci's change management
materials in my organization?
Why is change management different than other recent management fads?
Change management is different than some of the other recent
management fads - some of which are still around and others of which
have faded away. The main difference is the focus of the two groups.
Most of the recent management fads have been approaches for fixing
or addressing particular management problems or issues. However,
change management is different. It is the set of tools, processes
and principles to help individuals successfully navigate any
number of organizational changes - even those changes that are
the current fad.
In Prosci's certification program, participants bring a specific
project they are working on in their organization and must develop a
change management strategy and presentation that is delivered to one of
Prosci's instructors. At these sessions, we see change management being
applied to a huge assortment of organizational changes - for example, implementing an ERP, bringing three different business units together into one division,
physically moving office spaces, redeploying thousands of employees,
implementing business processes for a single team of creative designers,
rolling out a global diversity strategy in a multinational company with
over 50,000 employees, approaching a new sales channel or releasing a
new product or implementing a new performance review system.
Regardless of the type of change (some of which might
be the current fad), change management helps individuals make the
transition successfully. As long as there are people in the
organization and changes that impact how those people do their jobs,
there will be a need for change management. Find out more in the
Defining change management, project management and "the change" tutorial.
Is it necessary to create a "burning platform" in order to create
awareness of the need to change?
A "burning platform" is a term used to describe an extremely urgent
or compelling business situation in order to convey, in the strongest
terms, the need for change. Using this process, you can get people’s
attention and build awareness of the need for change very quickly. The
only caveat is that not every change can have a burning platform. If
this were to become the norm, employees may begin to
ignore the message
(not everything can be an emergency). As the old story goes, you do not
want to be caught “crying wolf” for every change, in case you find
yourself really faced by a wolf and no one responds to your call.
* This FAQ comes from the book
ADKAR: A model for change
by Prosci President Jeff Hiatt
What are the most important things to do to get my managers and
supervisors supporting change management?
The first step is to realize that to be a good coach of their direct
reports, managers and supervisors must first be on board with the
change themselves. We need to first build support and buy-in
for the change
and supervisor, and then ask them to fulfill their role in managing the
change with their direct reports. Building support for the change itself
with managers and supervisors can be done by using
ADKAR. The manager or
1) Awareness of the need for change;
2) Desire to participate and support the change;
3) Knowledge on how to change;
4) Ability to implement required skills and behaviors;
5) Reinforcement to sustain the change.
Best practice research shows several change management roles of
managers and supervisors. First, they are
preferred senders of communication messages, specifically on
the personal impact of a change. Project teams and change management
leaders need to provide managers and supervisors with the information
they need to communicate effectively with employees. Managers and
supervisors are key in the group coaching
individual coaching sessions that
build support and buy-in throughout the organization. They fill an
important role in identifying and managing
resistance to change. Lastly, participants in the 2007 study
identified direct supervisors as the best source of
reinforcement to sustain a change.
While managers and supervisors play a central role in successful
change, only 24% of the 2007 benchmarking study participants heavily engaged managers and
supervisors in managing change. There is still work to be done.
What is the ROI of change management?
The ROI of change management is an interesting question, because
there is no 'control group' to compare what happened with or without
change management. When we apply change management, we alter the path
the organization takes for any given change or project, so we do not have a
"what if we didn't use change management" scenario to compare against.
A similar problem arises with project management - what is the ROI of
using project management? We cannot be sure because on a
particular project, we either use project management or we don't. Below are
some different approaches Prosci and our community have used to build a
compelling case for the return created by applying change management.
- Show a correlation - while it is very difficult to make a
definitive statement about the dollars and cents related to change
management, analysis can be done on the
correlation of effective change management with the
ability to meet project objectives. McKinsey Quarterly has a study
that shows a very strong correlation, and three sets of Prosci
benchmarking data show this strong correlation as well. So, the
statement shifts from "change management returns X dollars" to "change
management increases the probability of meeting objectives by Y
percent". In the next several weeks, Prosci will release
the correlation analysis from the 2007 benchmarking study.
- Validate value with experience - there are many qualitative
reasons for using change management,
symptoms that we may not be able to quantify but can
feel within the organization.
change management tutorial includes a list of the impacts of
poorly managing change and the benefits of effective change management
- including examples shared by our user community. Another
approach to validating value is to use anecdotes
from people within the organization who have experience
with projects that were both successful using change management and
unsuccessful due to ignoring change management. These people can share
their personal accounts and examples to bolster the value of change
- Prosci's ROI of change management model - the Prosci ROI
of change management model describes the three human factors that
contribute to or constrain a project's ability to meet its
objectives. When a project changes how people do their jobs, the
value the project delivers is tied to the: 1)
speed of adoption (how quickly people adopt the
change); 2) ultimate utilization
(how many people make the change); and 3)
proficiency (how much
improvement is each person realizing). Find out more in the
change management model tutorial.
Two final thoughts. First, change management is a tool that supports
the implementation of specific changes. The value of change management
(and similarly project management) is helping
the project meet its objectives. Change management is not an
end in-and-of-itself, it is a means to achieve project objectives.
Second, sometime those who challenge and request that the ROI of change
management be proven may be actually demonstrating
resistance to change management itself. Be sure to think
about the root cause of the question "what is the ROI of change
management" and utilize other resistance management techniques when
We have had limited success with written forms of communication for
building awareness. Why are these communication channels not working?
Over the past eight years in four longitudinal studies by Prosci,
project teams report that face-to-face
discussions that are honest
and straightforward, and that offer
details of the change on a personal level,
are the most effective form of communication. Face-to-face interactions
are more effective than written communications for a number of reasons:
- Not everyone reads every email or newsletter article.
- What the author of an email or document meant as compared with what
the reader understood are not always the same. One-way communications do
not have the ability to correct these misunderstandings.
- Often emails or articles are not authored by a “preferred
sender” – the person that an employee would respect or trust to
convey the awareness message.
- The most effective communications include not only content, but also
tone and body language. Written information cannot convey these other
forms of communication. Often employees will respond based on the reactions of
others around them. Getting those “nods of agreement” in face-to-face
interactions can be half the battle.
Find out more in Prosci's
Communication checklist tutorial - a simple set of questions you
can use to audit your communication plans. Also, Prosci's
Management Toolkit and Change
Management Pilot include complete step-by-step guidelines and
complete templates for building research-based communication plans.
* This FAQ comes from the book
ADKAR: A model for change
by Prosci President Jeff Hiatt
How do I share Prosci's change management materials in my
Prosci has a number of options to help you share our research and
materials throughout your organization. Each day, Prosci works to enable
organizations from across the world and from numerous industries to
build their change management competencies using our research-based,
holistic and easy-to-use materials. From a research and materials
perspective, Prosci has a variety of licensing arrangements that enable
you to utilize particular resources or the entire body of Prosci
intellectual property. From a training perspective, Prosci's new and
improved Train-the-Trainer Program provides you the knowledge,
foundation and skills to teach Prosci's programs within your
Email a Prosci analyst or call 970-203-9332 to find out
more about these offerings.