In the coming years, no other competency will be more important to your organization than the ability to manage change. Flexible and adaptable organizations will be the benchmark for long-term growth and sustainability. Building the competency to manage change is not like installing a new system or technology. It is a transformation in how the organization operates and leads people. It requires individuals to learn new skills and take on new roles. It requires a new approach to change projects.
Your organization will be successful at building change competency when change management is applied on each and every project, individuals at all levels of the organization have developed the competency to manage change, and change readiness has become a competitive differentiator. Change management will be evident in the organization's processes and structure, and visible in the actions and behaviors of executives, senior leaders, managers, supervisors, project teams and front-line employees.
Prosci's research in the building of change management competency - what we call Enterprise Change Management - has yielded a number of lessons as well as a roadmap for how to holistically build the organizational competency. This tutorial presents three different approaches for building change management competency along with action steps, pros and cons:
A project-centric approach is often taken when the originator of the effort wears more of a "project hat" in the organization - such as an experienced project manager, a member of the PMO or a leader overseeing several projects in their own department or organization. This is primarily because the projects in the organization are within this person's scope of influence, hence they drive change management first into the projects within the organization.
The focus of this approach is to attach change management to a handful of specific projects. This approach typically involves some sequencing and planning related to which projects are the first to apply change management. One approach is to begin with a single, major initiative that is highly visible. Another is to attach change management to several projects in a particular division - say IT, HR or the call center - or to projects within a particular region. All of these approaches begin with identifying specific change projects as a starting point and using change management on these projects.
A skill-centric approach is often used when the originator of the effort has a human resources or training background. Many of these efforts originate in HR and are focused on developing the leadership competency to manage change. "Skills" is typically the focus because the originator (for example the director of training) has influence and control in the training part of the organization.
The focus in this approach is on building skills and competencies to manage change in the organization. While projects may be marginally addressed, the initial focus is training. This approach leverages the fact that senior leaders, managers and project team members have specific roles and responsibilities, and that training is an effective tool for building skills associated with these roles.
Both the project-centric and skill-centric approaches have their merits and potential risks. Prosci's experience and research has shown that a holistic approach that addresses both of these areas, as well as the elements of process and structure, is the most effective when sponsorship for this change is at the highest level of your organization. Prosci's Enterprise Change Management Deployment Strategy Map identifies five areas where tactics should be developed to truly improve how the organization reacts to and manages change:
1. Leadership future state
2. Project future state
3. Skills future state
4. Process future state
5. Structure future state
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.