"Individual Centering" Change
In brief: By increasing the focus on the
individuals impacted by a project or initiative, change
management helps us to define change at the right level (the
individual) and drive the adoption and usage necessary for
project to deliver results and outcomes.
During the 1990s organizations were swept up by
"process centering" - rethinking their operations from the
perspective of business processes instead of departments,
functions or organizational hierarchy. As organizations have
grown and evolved, and decision making and ownership has been
pushed farther out in the organization, it is time for another
Change is the new norm, and no one expects the rate or amount
of change to decrease in coming years. For organizational change
to be successful, individual employees impacted by the change
must make their own successful transitions. Each must embrace,
adopt and use the change to their processes, systems, behaviors
and jobs. This tutorial presents the importance of
"individual centering" change - a task that change management
The individual is the unit of change
Change happens at two levels - the organizational level and
the individual level. We often think about change from an
organizational perspective - installing an Enterprise Resource
Planning application, re-orienting a sales team by vertical
industry instead of region, implementing Electronic Medical
Records. This is the perspective of projects and initiatives -
and it is easier. However, an organizational change ultimately
impacts how people do their jobs. Individuals must enter data
into the new system, engage clients in a new way or keep patient
records in new software. The individual is the unit of change.
In this way, organizational change is like a mutual fund.
While it is easier and more convenient to think at the mutual
fund level, a mutual fund doesn't actually perform. The
performance of a mutual fund depends on the performance of each
of the stocks that make up the mutual fund. Organizational changes
alone do not perform - their performance depends on the success
of each individual who must follow new processes, use new tools
or exhibit new behaviors.
The sections below show how "impacted individuals" - those
who have to change how they do their jobs when a project or
initiative is implemented - are addressed in Prosci's approach
to change management.
Impacted individuals and Prosci's Five Tenets
Five Tenets of Change Management were introduced in the second
edition of Change Management: The People Side of Change
in December of 2012. The Five Tenets give a new framework for
introducing, defining and positioning change management within
the context of the expected results of the change.
Tenets 2 and 3 address the impacted individual directly.
Tenet 2 says that "Organizational change requires individual
change" - meaning that when a project or initiative is
implemented, particular employees will have to do their jobs
differently. Sometimes it is a few employees, sometimes it is
many employees. Sometimes the change is not that dramatic, other
times it is very dramatic. In any case, organizational change
requires individual change.
Tenet 3 says that "Organizational outcomes are the collective
result of individual change" - meaning that we only realize
benefits and achieve results when employees embrace, adopt and
use the change. If employees do not make their own personal
transitions successfully, or make them slower than we expected,
then project outcomes are compromised.
These two tenets help to set the stage for change management
as the solution to support the individual transitions caused by
an organizational change.
Impacted individuals and ADKAR
Prosci® ADKAR® Model describes the
five building blocks of successful change as:
- Awareness of the need for change
- Desire to participate and support the change
- Knowledge on how to change
- Ability to implement required skills and behaviors
- Reinforcement® to sustain the change
When a person experiences a change - whether at home or at
work - they begin the change process with an answer to "why
change" (Awareness), followed by the personal decision to make
the change (Desire). Next, the person needs to know how
(Knowledge) and demonstrate the capability to make the change
(Ability). At this point, the change has happened, but without
intentional actions to make the change stick (Reinforcement), a
person can slip back to the old way.
ADKAR describes the building blocks of successful change.
Within the context of "individual centering" - ADKAR gives us
direction for supporting each of the individuals impacted by the
Impacted individuals and the 3-Phase Process
While change ultimately happens at the individual level, there
are actions that a project team or change management team can
take to support those changes. Prosci calls this organizational
change management and has a research-based process for
developing the strategies and plans for applying change
management to a project.
Prosci's 3-Phase Change Management Process provides the guidance
and tools for applying change management at the project or
initiative level. The notion of "impacted individuals" comes
through in each of the three phases of the Prosci process.
|Phase 1: Preparing
- Groups in the Impact Index
- Anticipated resistance and special tactics
- Sponsor assessment diagram is based on "who
has to do their jobs differently"
|Phase 2: Managing
- Segmented audiences in communications plan
- Segmented audiences in training plan
- Manager and supervisors addressed in the
|Phase 3: Reinforcing
- Who we gather feedback from
- Whose compliance we audit
- Where we measure adoption and usage
Organizational change management gives us the actions, steps
and activities we take as a practitioner of change management,
but each can only be effective if the individual employees
impacted by the change guide our work.
Impacted individuals - centerpiece of Change Management ROI
The final aspect of impacted individuals shows up in
measurement. While the Prosci CMROI™
Model does provide tools for calculating a return on investment
for change management - it is really more about shifting the
conversation about the ROI of change
management - from "what is the ROI of change management?" to
"how much of a project's benefits depend on employee adoption
and usage?" When we position the impacted individuals, and
their contribution to overall project benefits and results, as
the centerpiece of the conversation, we can begin discussing the
impact of change management (and individual change) within the
context of project results and outcomes.
It is easy to forget the individual in times of change. We
think about our goal as implementing a new system or creating a
communication plan. However, for organizational change to be
successful, individual employees must make a successful personal
transition and adopt a new way of doing their jobs. Change
management provides the focus and solution for "individual
centering" change - resulting in more successful change and