Change management's purpose is clear - to ensure that changes deliver intended results and outcomes by addressing one of the most critical elements of successful change, the people side of change.

 Employee adoption and usage are the bridge between a great solution and ultimate results. In practice, change management plays out on several different levels within the organization. To provide clarity to this rapidly emerging and evolving discipline and to understand how it is practiced within organizations. This series will examine change management on three distinct levels:

  • The Enterprise Level - as an organizational capability and competency

  • The Project Level - as a benefit realization and value creation measure applied on particular initiatives

  • The Individual Level - as an approach for enabling one person to change successfully

Each of the three levels has a specific focus and purpose. The focus of the Enterprise Level is to create change agility and durability by institutionalizing change management and building competencies throughout the organization. The focus of the Project Level is to ensure that project results and outcomes are achieved and risks are mitigated. The focus of the Individual Level is to help an employee impacted by a change to embrace, adopt and use that change. Each level is essential for an organization to more effectively seize the opportunities and address the issues it faces.

Change Management at the Enterprise Level

Change management at the Enterprise Level is about building organizational capabilities and competencies to more effectively bring about the 10s or 100s or 1000s of changes being introduced in your organization each year. As change management practices are institutionalized and embedded, each change the organization takes on is more successful and the change management discipline itself is improved.

Dimensions of change management at the Enterprise Level

At the Enterprise Level, three dimensions of change management are present:

  • Common, consistent, constant application of change management processes and tools

  • Individual competencies at leading change, from the top to the bottom

  • A strategic capability/core competency

These characteristics do not simply emerge, but rather they have to be strategically and intentionally fostered through a concerted effort to more broadly deploy change management. When these dimensions are in place, change management becomes common place and the norm. Applying great change management on an effort becomes the expectation, not the exception. Employees, regardless of where they are located in the organization, understand and embrace their roles in bringing about change. Effectively changing becomes a differentiator and cultural value of the organization.

The ECM Roadmap is a web-based instructional guide that provides a step-by-step process and set of tools for creating your customized strategy and approach for advancing each of these three disciplines. Prosci's one-day ECM Boot Camp also provides you with the tools and direction for creating a structured and holistic approach.

Common elements of Enterprise Change Management

Change management at the Enterprise Level can take on many shapes and sizes. How the capability manifests itself within an organization really depends on the organization and how change occurs in the organization. While there is not a simple "one size fits all" recipe for change management at the Enterprise Level, there are a number of common elements found in leading organizations who are building organizational capabilities:

  • Standard organizational approach for change management

  • Supporting structure, like a Change Management Office, Community of Practice or Center of Excellence

  • Learning programs and curriculums for change management competencies

  • Common, scalable tools for change management practitioners

  • Triggers for applying change management embedded in project initiation processes

  • Integrated approach bringing together project management and change management

  • Appreciation of the value and importance of change management throughout the organization

The Change Management Maturity Model™ Audit  is an online self-assessment of organizational maturity, where you evaluate factors like those above across five Capability Areas: Leadership, Application, Competencies, Standardization and Socialization - to arrive at an overall Change Management Maturity Model Level score.

Tips for building an Enterprise Level change capability

Leading organizations are moving on the Enterprise Level. They are actively working to build a core competency and competitive differentiator stemming from their change adaptability. The first step down this path is to treat "building an organizational change management capability" as a project and as a change.

Below are three tips gleaned from years of research and experience with organizations taking change management past a Project Level application and toward that of an Enterprise Level capability.

  1. Treat Enterprise Level capability building like a project and a change - Enterprise Level change management does not occur simply because you want it to. To create an organizational capability in change management, you must manage it as a change and as a project. This means designing, developing and deploying a solution and applying change management to make sure that solution is embraced, adopted and used. Prosci's one-day workshop (ECM Boot Camp) and online instructional guide (ECM Roadmap) provide complete tools and research to support this work.
  2. Leverage a signature win - In both our experience and in Prosci's latest benchmarking study, the importance of a "signature win" or "success story" was very clear. An example of effective change management and its impact builds support and mobilizes energy behind a broader deployment effort. It also helps people in the organization see what it means to apply change management. If you are considering Enterprise Level change management, be deliberate in creating or capturing a success that you can share with others.
  3. Ensure leadership commitment - In all seven of Prosci's change management benchmarking studies, the top overall contributor to success identified has been active and visible executive involvement and support. The credibility and authority provided by effective sponsorship cannot be understated. The same will hold true when the specific change happens to be "building an organizational capability in change management." While progress can certainly be made from a bottoms up or grass roots perspective, at some point the effort will need the type of leadership and sponsorship that any other enterprise level initiative needs.

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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.