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Using the ADKAR Model as a Structured Change Management Approach

A structured approach to the change process is a critical concept in developing a successful and sustainable organizational change strategy. Organizations that employ a structured process within their change strategy benefit from a smoother transition, increased adoption rate, and higher implementation rates amongst impacted groups. Industry-leading organizations leverage a structured change approach to create a formal and dependable process that is replicable throughout the organization on all projects. One crucial element in building a successful and sustainable change strategy is dedicating a portion of your structured approach to the individual employee and their success.

1998 to 2018: Here’s How We (And the Research) Have Changed

As we prepared for the release of our tenth Best Practices in Change Management report over twenty years of research, I couldn't help but notice how many things have changed in twenty years. Let’s take a moment to reflect:

Empowering Managers with the ADKAR Model

Managers have always been a key lever to success in change management work. They are the frontline troops in helping get their employees through a change successfully. Prosci’s research has continued to demonstrate that employees want to hear about change from their managers, managers can help proactively mitigate employee resistance, and having managers bought into the why of a change is crucial for success. The Prosci ADKAR Model is a uniquely valuable tool that, when used successfully, can help managers positively impact a change.  In Prosci’s Applications of ADKAR research effort, change practitioners shared their experience, insights and advice on empowering  managers with the ADKAR Model (read the full research report here).

Equipping Senior Leaders with the ADKAR Model

Since the beginning iterations of Prosci’s change management research, we’ve known about the importance of senior leader engagement on a project. Nearly every change manager has navigated the tension between understanding the importance of senior leader engagement on a project and the difficulty of getting this necessary engagement. What is more, it is not enough to have senior leaders involved in a change project. We must ensure that they are equipped with the tools that they need to be effective, active, and visible leaders throughout the project.

Using the ADKAR Model to Measure Change Success

Peter Drucker famously observed, “what gets measured gets managed.” In the change space, measurement has often been an elusive frontier. With its individual and results orientation, the Prosci ADKAR Model is uniquely valuable as a measurement mechanism. In Prosci’s Application of ADKAR research effort, change practitioners shared their experience, insights and advice on using the ADKAR Model as a measurement framework. And, as it turns out, it works –two thirds of participants using the model as a measurement framework said it was extremely effective. As one participant noted, “ADKAR allows you to measure where individuals are in the change process so change management activities can be tailored and timely.”

Using the ADKAR Model to Integrate Change Management and Project Management

Integrating change management and project management has been an area of study for over a decade at Prosci. While some people seem to think that project management and change management have a rivalry akin to the Capulets and Montagues, we do not believe that to be the case. Previous research tells us that integrating these disciplines leads to more effective change management. More effective change management, in turn, leads to a higher likelihood of project outcomes being achieved.

Using the ADKAR Model to Facilitate Individual Change

In our age of innovation and sophistication, I am always amazed by the power of the throw-back. We post old pictures on social media in honor of “throw-back Thursday.” We sing and dance along with throw-back songs (which, for me, is early nineties pop music). We look back at old year books or family photo albums. There’s a reason we love throw-backs: they feel comfortable and familiar, but they also take us back to our roots and our formative experiences. It’s a powerful thing to return to where we came from.

Using the ADKAR Model as a Common Language for Change

When people do not share a common language, it can lead to confusing, even hilarious results. Consider the classic Abbott and Costello skit “Who’s On First,” where both comedians are saying the same words but meaning completely different things. While this conundrum makes  for great comedy, it can cause real problems in our organizations. And lack of a common language doesn’t just manifest in people assigning different meaning to the same word; it can also result in people using vastly different terms to describe the same thing. This can cause frustration, misunderstanding, and decreased efficiency as people decipher each other’s language.

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