Year after year, participants in Prosci's benchmarking studies identify greater recognition of the need for and value of change management as a top trend impacting the industry.

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 first tutorial of the series and will provide an overview and context for making the case for change management. The upcoming tutorials in the series will address specific tactics along with data and frameworks you can use to make the case for change management on the projects and initiatives that you support.

Context - the foundation of your case

The case for change management is inextricably connected to project and organizational success. If you are not talking about achieving results, then you are having the wrong conversation.

 

Tim Creasey, Prosci Chief Development Officer

 

When you are approached with the question, "what is the value of change management?" - how do you respond? Do you talk about how important communications are? Do you talk about training? Do you refer to resistance? Or do you talk about project results and organizational success?

The bottom line is the bottom line when it comes to making the case for change management. When you are convincing project leaders or senior leaders about the importance of change management, you must link the work you do managing the people side of change to one thing: results. Change management is, in the end, a tool for delivering results.

Below are four perspectives for connecting change management to delivering outcomes and results. Each of these perspectives will be built upon in subsequent tutorials.

1. Role of the individual in successful change

Organizational change ultimately comes to life one person at a time. Said another way, the individual is the unit of change. If changes are only successful when individuals do their jobs differently, then a structured approach for supporting individual change is central to projects delivering expected improvement.

Read more in the tutorial: The individual is the unit of change

2. The data supporting the value of change management

A growing body of data shows that with more effective change management, projects are more likely to meet objectives, finish on time and finish on budget. An important "upside" to applying change management is improving the likelihood of success, and the data is quite clear about the correlation.

Read more in the tutorial: Correlating success and change management effectiveness

3. Three "people side" of change ROI factors

When projects or initiatives impact how people do their jobs, there are human factors that directly contribute to or constrain the ROI (Return on Investment) of that project. Prosci's ROI of Change Management Model presents the three human factors that define ROI as: speed of adoption (how quickly people make the change), ultimate utilization (how many of them make the change) and proficiency (how effective they are after making the change).

Read more in the tutorial: Three people side ROI factors

4. Costs and risks of poorly managing change

When the people side of change is not managed effectively, projects and initiatives experience higher costs and greater risks than when change management is done well. Costs and risks apply to the project and to the organization as a whole. Applying a holistic, structured approach to change management is both a cost avoidance and risk mitigation technique.

Read more in the tutorial: Costs and risks of poorly managing change

Who are you making the case to?

The case for change management will be made with numerous audiences in your organization. You may be having the conversation with an executive or senior leader who has launched a change and has the ability to ensure that change management is applied. You may be speaking with a project leader who is working diligently to solve a technical problem, but has not started thinking about the people side of the change. You may be speaking with a communications professional that you will be partnering with on a particular initiative. Or you may be speaking with an internal consultant who has been tasked with change management on a new project.

The important takeaway here is that the way you tell the story about the value of change management will depend on your audience, their relationship to change and what they care about. The key to making your case for change management compelling is linking directly to their own concerns and success.

Think about the two most common "audiences" of the case for change management and what they are concerned with:

Executives and senior leaders:

  • Concerned with: financial and strategic goals
  • The question you must answer: How can you connect managing the people side of change to meeting financial and strategic goals?

Project leaders, managers and teams:

  • Concerned with: delivering a successful project that improves the organization, on time and within budget
  • The question you must answer: How can you connect managing the people side of change to project delivery?

With a combination of the approaches above, you can connect effective change management to financial performance, strategic goals and project delivery. And when you begin to speak the language that your audience cares about, you are well on your way to building support for change management.

Goal is to get people side of change on the radar

Your goal is to ensure that the people side of change is considered and addressed on the projects and initiatives you support. By creating an Awareness of the need for change management and a Desire to participate and support change management (pulling from Prosci's ADKAR® Model), you have taken the first steps to ensuring change management is applied on the projects that you support in your organization.

When you make the connection between change management and results and outcomes, you move change management from a "nice to have" to a "must have" - earning yourself a seat at the table in the project success discussion.

Read the complete case for change management series:

Module 2 - The individual is the unit of change

Module 3 - Correlating success and change management effectiveness

Module 4 - ROI of change management

Module 5 - Costs and risk of poorly managing change 

Prosci Change Management Certification

Written by
Tim Creasey
Tim Creasey

Tim Creasey is Prosci’s Chief Innovation Officer and a globally recognized leader in change management. His work forms the foundation of the largest body of knowledge in the world on managing the people side of change to deliver organizational results.

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