How do you know if your change management approach is set up to succeed? Using the Prosci Methodology as a foundation, we’ve created an easy-to-use checklist to guide you through your change management approach.

Use this checklist as you examine the following elements of your change management strategy:

  • Change management planning
  • Change management readiness
  • Sponsorship
  • Communication
  • Coaching
  • Resistance management
  • Training
  • Reinforcement

This checklist is especially helpful as you prepare for upcoming initiatives, analyze progress on current initiatives, and discuss change management with others.

Download Checklist

How to Use the Checklist

The explanations below walk you through each element in the checklist, why that element matters, and how you can implement it.

Change management planning

A structured approach to change management was cited as the number two contributor to success in the Best Practices in Change Management – 11th Edition. Further analysis of the data shows a direct correlation between the use of a structured methodology and change management effectiveness, and change management effectiveness is directly linked to project success.

Keys to implementation:

  • Use a structured and planned approach
  • Ensure that you have the necessary resources
  • Begin your change management activities at the beginning of the project, not as an afterthought or add on

Change management readiness

Conducting change readiness and organizational readiness assessments clarifies where you are today and what you need to do next. The right amount of change management depends on both the change you are implementing and the groups experiencing change.

Keys to implementation:

  • Don’t assess for the sake of assessing; be sure the outputs are going to give you important insights and impact your future actions
  • Customize your change management strategy and plans to fit with the specific change you are managing

Sponsorship

Effective sponsorship was cited as the top contributor to success in each of the Prosci's eleven benchmarking studies over more than twenty years of research with more than 8,000 participants from 85 countries. In the latest study, over half of all participants rated their sponsors' understanding and execution of change management as less than adequate.

Keys to implementation:

  • Don’t assume your sponsors know what it means to be an effective sponsor of change; there are often gaps in sponsor knowledge
  • Remember that sponsorship is more than signing a name on a project charter; it involves active and visible participation with the project team, employees and other senior leaders

Communication

Communication will be critical for building Awareness of and Desire for changes. Frequent and open communication was cited as the number three critical success factor in Best Practices in Change Management – 11th Edition.

Keys to implementation:

  • The most effective communication is face-to-face, so don’t rely exclusively on "broadcast" forms of written and electronic communication
  • Involve both key senders of change messages, including senior business leaders (for messages about impacts of change on the organization) and immediate supervisors (messages about impacts of change on the individual and "What's In It For Me")

Coaching

The role immediate supervisors play during change is critical. They are the preferred sender of messages about how the change impacts an individual, and they play a central role in identifying and managing resistance. Middle managers were cited as one of the main resistors to change in the last benchmarking report. Engaging them as coaches helps to address some of the main causes of manager resistance.

Keys to implementation:

  • As with sponsors, don’t assume that managers know what it means to be an effective coach—some of the best managers are not effective change managers without proper knowledge and support
  • Give coaches the information they need to be the senders of key messages about how the change will impact individuals

Resistance management

Resistance to change by employees and managers has been cited as the top obstacle to project success in Prosci's last eleven benchmarking studies. The most common reasons for resistance are not tied to the solution you are implementing. Instead, they are often related to the current state and potential misinformation in the organization.

Keys to implementation:

  • Be proactive about managing resistance by identifying what it might look like and where it might come from
  • You can often prevent or mitigate the most common causes of resistance by simply thinking through your change management activities earlier in the change lifecycle

Training

Training is a vital part of building Knowledge of how to change and Ability to change. Many change practitioners are heavily involved in the training portion of a project. Rely on best practices when planning and facilitating your training.

Keys to Implementation:

  • Focus on planning and design (including training needs assessments and involvement with impacted audiences) as this was listed as the top success factor for project-specific training
  • Make sure your training is delivered at the right time, when employees are in the Knowledge and Ability stages of the ADKAR Model

Reinforcement

If people revert back to the old way of doing things after implementation, you have not only wasted time and resources, but your solution will not generate the benefit or ROI you expected. While Reinforcement is often overlooked, it is the bridge between the period of change (the transition state) and how things will be done after implementation (the future state).

Keys to implementation:

  • Be proactive, systematic and explicit when developing the mechanisms to reinforce the change
  • Engage sponsors and coaches in Reinforcement as they will be keys to creating the expectation that change will be maintained

Accelerate change with a structured approach

The Checklist for Your Change Management Approach can enable you to be proactive, systematic and thorough in your change management work. The people side of your change is too important to be left to chance. You can accelerate change and minimize the disruption by thinking ahead and using a structured approach. Remember that change management is not:

  • Just communication
  • Just addressing resistance
  • Just training
  • Just sponsorship
  • Just assessing
  • Just identifying and mitigating risk
  • Just informing people

Change management is the process, tools and techniques to manage the people-side of change to achieve a required business outcome. By understanding individual and organizational change, and the tools you have to influence change, you can accelerate change adoption in your organization.

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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.