If you are just beginning to implement change management on a project, remember that for many people participating in the project, the effective application of change management principles and tools is itself a change for them. Examples include:
Each of these individuals is undergoing a change themselves—the change of applying effective change management. Since they are going through the change as individuals, we can use the ADKAR Model to examine the key steps, messages and information required to get change management team members successfully through the personal change (remember, applying effective change management is the change we are talking about). The ADKAR Model is an individual change management model characterized by these five phases:
For more information on the ADKAR Model, read this ADKAR overview article.
Below is a series of questions and some talking points related to each phase of the ADKAR Model as they pertain to this change, namely, applying effective change management. The following also includes links to resources that give more detail and depth to particular points.
As a leader asking your teams to apply change management, the first step is to make the need for change management concrete. When someone is asked to change the way they do things (i.e., apply change management on your next project), the first response is usually: "Why?" Several key messages and suggestions for building awareness include:
Desire is typically one of the most difficult phases because it requires individuals to make their own decision. As a leader you want to make a compelling case for adopting change management, building on the awareness that was created earlier. Talking points for desire include:
The key mechanism for creating knowledge is training. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to address awareness and desire, and attempt to build buy-in by just training people. This is not an effective approach and can even create more resistance and make adoption more difficult. Make sure that your team has awareness of the need for change management and a desire to engage before initiating training.
Some key points for knowledge include:
Ability is the fourth phase—following awareness, desire and knowledge. This means that the team can act on the knowledge provided in change management. Some keys to ensuring ability include:
In many instances, changes in large organizations can be temporary if employees revert back to the old way of doing things. If you've identified change management as a key component of the changes you are making in your organization, then you cannot take the risk of reverting back to ineffectively managing the people side of change. Some keys to keeping change management in place include:
This approach helps change management teams and practitioners to fully grasp why they are applying change management and how to do it effectively. While the process appears long and comprehensive, you can actually address the phases in a short amount of time. The important point to remember is that the change will take place in the sequence described in the ADKAR Model, so don't try to skip steps or individuals may end up sitting in a training program thinking "Why am I here?"
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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