At Prosci, we talk about the need to pivot around purpose during a crisis and to anchor to collective purpose as an organization. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic has created the need for many of our clients, especially local and state government, to pivot urgently and enable their employees to adopt many changes. Here’s how one state rapidly pivoted around purpose to better address the urgent needs of its citizens.
Last spring, a government organization contacted Prosci for help implementing a state-wide change management strategy as part of their COVID-19 response. Change management had been on their radar, but the pandemic made it clear that they needed to help employees adopt and use changes effectively if they were going be successful serving their citizens.
The client faced a number of urgent issues common to state governments across the U.S., including:
Rather than Prosci doing all the work for the client as consultants, we deployed our Advisory Services team to help the organization develop a plan and processes, put change management practitioners into must-win projects, and spool up their internal trainer capabilities. This enabled them to teach and train more people on their own and have more practitioners on hand to do the widely dispersed training with others after we were gone.
The beauty of this approach is that we fished for them while teaching them to fish on their own, all with live projects. The organization was fixing the urgent nature of today in real time—solving problems caused by the pandemic that were really important while simultaneously building change capability, which is what we try to get every customer to do. It worked very well for them because, in a good way, they had no choice but to work on the right projects. There was clarity of purpose because of the crisis, and it helped the organization and individuals build the resiliency they needed for the future.
Every organization has unique needs, some small and straightforward, and others quite complex and expansive. To meet this government organization where they were, we customized the approach below.
Over the course of three months, our Advisory Services team helped the organization build out their CMO (Change Management Office). We helped help them analyze the organization, so they knew where to put resources in the short and long terms. We conducted a workshop to inform and build a work plan, as well as an approach to roll out change management training. And then we gave them a structure for measuring progress, making course corrections, and building an action plan.
Part of the CMO effort was to establish a Community of Practice for practitioners and other change agents, so they could connect regularly, share ideas, get advice, and align on projects. We also helped create the foundation to track employee training, project progress, and project data.
We applied licensing options, mixing and matching the elements necessary and weaving them into their business rhythm. We built licensing into the organization's strategic planning, departmental agendas and standing business, so that the license had the greatest impacts at the right times and with the right audiences. Prosci e-Learning also played a critical role as training pre-work, interventions to accelerate progress, and creating Awareness and Desire with front-line employees directly impacted by changes to their daily work.
We quickly implemented Prosci’s world-class training programs to equip individuals for their specific roles in change. The project managers working on the must-win projects attended our Delivering Project Results Workshop. We conducted Sponsor Briefings to help leaders understand their critical roles, be in the right place at the right time, and strengthen their impacts during change. And then we skilled up and coached the right practitioners, so they could accelerate everything in the system.
The coaching from Senior Change Advisors, which followed each of the training programs, was the true force-multiplier in our approach. Coaching took the change team from Knowledge to Ability faster because we were working alongside them, accelerating the work they were doing in real time after the training. The client and those who worked on the projects found this aspect of our engagement invaluable, and many said they wished they had time for even more.
You might assume that a government organization with hundreds of thousands of stakeholders would not make much progress in such a short period of time. But in three months, they initiated more than 50 critical projects across more than two dozen agencies and departments, reaching thousands of team members. An exciting result of their work is that they grew their maturity on the Change Management Maturity Model significantly in just three months and set the stage for a robust enterprise change management capability.
Prosci Change Management Maturity Model
This government organization recognized the opportunity to leverage change management early in the pandemic. Many state and local governments have found opportunities to leverage the need for change management to their advantage, including several Prosci clients who now make change management an important aspect of the way they work.
If you had been considering deploying change management or had it in your work plan before the COVID-19 outbreak, don’t put it off. Whether the scope is large or small, now is the time to do it. The urgency of the projects, the opportunity to make greats strides quickly with initiatives, and the clarity of purpose could accelerate your project successes while helping your people navigate change during difficult times.
Dan Olson is a seasoned change management architect and deployment leader with diverse experience in change management strategy and implementation, leadership coaching, team effectiveness, facilitation, and operations management. He has led major change initiatives, built change management centers of excellence within organizations, and coached others in doing the same.
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