Over the last decade, the discipline of change management has emerged and evolved. What was once an ad hoc, after-the-fact approach occasionally accompanied by a communications plan and training plan has been replaced by holistic, structured processes with complete toolsets for addressing change management at the individual and organizational level. The result of improved change management has been greater success at delivering objectives on time and on budget.

Leading organizations are making great change management the norm - are you ready to make the move?

Now, leading organizations are taking the next step in the journey, shifting their focus from project-by-project application toward institutionalizing change management practices, processes and competencies. Instead of addressing change management one project after another, these organizations are investing time, energy and resources to build organizational change management capabilities and competencies. Prosci calls this effort Enterprise Change Management (ECM), the structured and intentional deployment of change management across and throughout an organization. With Enterprise Change Management, effectively managing the people side of change becomes more than a business practice; it becomes a core competency, competitive differentiator and cultural value of the organization.

So, are you ready to take the next step? To put your organization in a place where common change management processes and tools are consistently applied on all projects, and where employees have grown to become great leaders of change, regardless of their role or location in the organization. If so, you are ready for Enterprise Change Management.

This tutorial presents two key questions for you to consider as the new year begins and you embark on the journey to build true organizational capabilities and competencies in change management:

  • Where are you today?
  • How will you move forward?

Where are you today?

How would you answer these questions:

  • Do you have a vision for what a change management capability means for your organization?
  • What percentage of projects are applying a structured change management approach?
  • Have change management practitioners, project teams, leaders and managers attended change management training?
  • Have you adopted a standard approach to change management?
  • What is the level of buy-in and support for applying change management at every level within the organization?

These are the types of questions you can answer to determine where your organization is today from a change management maturity perspective. The Prosci® Change Management Maturity Model™ describes the five levels of organizational maturity as:
(read more about the Prosci Change Management Maturity Model):

  • Level 1: Absent or Ad hoc
  • Level 2: Isolated Projects
  • Level 3: Multiple Projects
  • Level 4: Organizational Standards
  • Level 5: Organizational Competencies

Each of the initial questions are pulled directly from the Prosci Change Management Maturity Model™ Audit. Released in 2012, this web-based self-assessment enables you to evaluate your organization's current change management maturity and sets the stage for building an organizational capability. In evaluating current change management maturity, there are five key areas to consider:

  • Leadership: What is the current level of leadership support for change management?
  • Application: How broadly and effectively are change management processes and tools being applied on the projects and initiatives in your organization?
  • Competencies: What is the current level of education, knowledge and competency related to leading change throughout the organization?
  • Standardization: Does the organization have a standard change management approach? Has change management been integrated into project delivery processes?
  • Socialization: Is there a common and shared definition of change management? Do people understand and value change management and its contribution to projects and the organization overall?

The Prosci Change Management Maturity Model™ Audit presents fifty (50) observable characteristics across the five capability areas above and provides rubric scoring so you can evaluate where your organization is today. The tool generates graphs like those below showing your overall level in the Prosci Change Management Maturity Model™ and your score in each of the five capability areas.




So, where is your organization today? From a Leadership perspective? An Application perspective? A Competencies perspective? A Standardization perspective? A Socialization perspective?

Understanding where you are today is the first step toward building organizational capability in the coming year - providing significant input and direction. But, knowing where you are today is only the starting point. What can you do to move the needle - to increase the use of change management processes and tools on initiatives and foster the individual competency building throughout your organization?

How will you move forward?

There is an important turning point that happens for organizations ready to institutionalize change management and build organizational capabilities. Based on Prosci's research and experience, this turning point can be best described as the moment we begin treating change management capability building as both a project and a change. Becoming a change-adept organization and building an agility supported by change management capabilities takes a concerted effort and focus. Organizational change management capability and competency does not happen on accident, it requires a thoughtful and structured approach to move from your current level of change management maturity to a higher level in the Change Management Maturity Model™. Prosci has nearly a decade of experience and research in Enterprise Change Management which is now available in the one-day ECM Boot Camp and the online ECM Roadmap. Upcoming ECM Boot Camps.

Given what we know and have learned, these three essential actions are critical in the journey to embed change management and build organizational capabilities:

  1. Secure leadership support
  2. Create and share success stories
  3. Manage the effort with structure and intent


1. Secure leadership support

Leadership support and effective sponsorship of change provides the necessary credibility and authority for change to take place. In times of change, employees look to leaders for direction and to see their own personal (and the organization's) commitment to the change at hand. In each of Prosci's seven benchmarking studies since 1998, active and visible sponsorship throughout the life of the project was identified as the greatest overall contributor to success.

Now, considering that the effort to build organizational change management capability is in fact both a project and a change, why would this be any different? When an organization takes on Enterprise Change Management, there are many changes that need leadership support and sponsorship to be effective, including installing a standard change management approach, establishing triggers and procedures for applying change management, integrating change management into change processes and systems, and providing competency-building training for employees.

For employees to take change management capability building seriously, leaders must show that this is an important undertaking for the organization. Leadership commitment was cited by study participants as the greatest contributor to successful change management deployment efforts, and a lack of support was cited as one of the biggest obstacles for unsuccessful efforts. Furthermore, leadership support was cited as one of the most important activities as the launch of a change management deployment effort.

Tips for securing leadership support:
To get senior leadership support for Enterprise Change Management, you must get them to support change management first. This means showing that applying change management on projects and initiatives increases the likelihood that those efforts deliver the intended results and outcomes. Position change management not as an optional add-on, but as a critical component of benefit realization and value creation from change. Work to show that change management contributes directly to the financial and strategic success of projects and initiatives, and then convey the opportunity for breakthrough performance by more widely deploying change management throughout the organization and on even more projects.

2. Create and share success stories

The value of change management must be demonstrated to those in the organization. In particular, employees working on projects are more likely to commit to change management when they have seen what it looks like and the impact it can have. Few organizational capability building efforts begin without some solid proofs of success and examples to share.

As you move toward an enterprise perspective for change management, building this legacy of pilot programs and case studies will be critical. In Prosci's latest research, respondents indicated that working on projects and demonstrating impact was critical in socializing and building support for change management more broadly. Demonstrating success was identified as one of the highest impact activities, as real application improved the reputation, credibility and visibility of change management

Tips for creating and sharing success stories:
Search out opportunities to apply change management in a real project setting. Then, document and measure the impact on project results. Your measurements of the contribution of change management can be both quantitative measures and qualitative stories from project team members and leaders. Communicate and share the results, creating a reference point for your work to increase the application on more projects. Be strategic and thoughtful in selecting pilot projects. If you are already working on projects, begin capturing the impact so you can leverage your wins toward Enterprise Change Management.


3. Manage the effort with structure and intent

This final tip results directly from the mindset of viewing "institutionalizing change management and building organizational capabilities and competencies" as both a project and a change. From a "project" perspective, this means implementing the mechanisms and systems to support change management application. From a "change" perspective, this means helping employees embrace, adopt and use change management in their work. We would never undertake an effort to transform the organization without applying solid project management and change management principles support the technical-side and people-side aspects of the effort. And, when you work to build an organizational capability in change management, you are essentially transforming how the organization changes. So, you will need structure on both the technical-side and people-side for Enterprise Change Management to be successful.

At the most basic level, the Enterprise Change Management effort will play out like any other change in the organization, following a current-transition-future state framework. The current state is how change management happens today. The future state is how the organization will manage change after the capability is built. The transition state is how the organization will move from its current level of maturity to a higher level of maturity. With this as the foundation, your role will include assessing the current state, defining the future state and designing a transition plan to ensure that you are treating ECM like both a project and a change.

Tips for managing the effort with structure and intent:
In Prosci's ECM offerings (including the one-day ECM Boot Camp workshop and the online ECM Roadmap instructional guide), we add structure and intent by developing Project ECM. Project ECM encompasses assessing the current state (including current maturity and environmental factors), defining the future state (including a vision statement and the essential elements of the future state), and designing a transition state (for both the technical and the people sides of the change). The ECM Boot Camp and ECM Roadmap provide a structured approach for Project ECM including numerous tools you can use. In addition, common project tools and templates are applied to the effort to add structure and intent, including alignment with best practices.


Enterprise Change Management Boot Camp

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.