Inspired by Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle, this tutorial will tackle three real challenges change managers face: gaining buy-in, tracking project health, and evaluating change management efforts. We’ll cover why tackling these challenges is important, how you can go about solving them, and what tools exist to support your efforts.
Research shows that excellent change management directly correlates with project success, making a project six times more likely to achieve expected results and objectives (demonstrated in Figure 1 below).
When our project teams, managers, and organizational leaders understand this, they can grasp the important role change management plays in achieving the return on investment of initiatives, organizational-wide changes, and projects. This understanding is critical in getting the involvement and resources you need to implement successful change management.
When building support for change management, it can be tempting to define change management by its activities: creating communications plans, running assessments, etc. But you need to contextualize your definition in terms of the outcomes of the project itself: what are the project objectives and organizational benefits the project seeks to achieve? Then, how much of these benefits depend on people changing how they do their work?
Starting with project objectives and articulating their people-dependency sets the stage for defining change management. Change management catalyzes individual transitions to deliver organizational results. It captures the people-dependent portion of project ROI and benefits. Setting the initial context allows you to define change management in a more compelling way.
Use these four questions to guide a conversation about project results and outcomes that depend on employee adoption and usage. Use the CMROI Calculator to collect the results of the conversation, and the Calculator will provide you with a people-dependency percentage:
Use the Prosci CMROI Calculator to show leaders and teams the ROI of change management:
Projects are the vehicles you use to improve performance, and to be successful they need to deliver the expected improvements. Here’s how you can ensure your project is on track to deliver its results:
Healthy projects share similar attributes. They have strong direction and guidance from leadership, a skilled project team that can effectively design, develop and deliver a solution, and an equally capable change management team that ensures employees embrace the purpose of the project, adopt the changes it requires and competently use the new solution.
These three elements make up the Prosci Project Change Triangle (PCT) Model. A healthy project will be well-balanced, with each corner of the triangle strong.
To discover the health of your project, you can distribute a simple yet powerful assessment to different stakeholders within the project. By compiling the results, you get a first impression of project health and can strategize on how to improve it. For example, if your assessments reveal that leadership is not offering the guidance and support you need, you can begin to take steps to remedy this weakness.
Prosci has created a tool called the PCT Analyzer to help you run these assessments as you track project health. The assessments contain several carefully crafted questions about each corner of the PCT model, which can be filled out manually or linked to for anonymous submission. Based on your project’s health for each element, the Analyzer provides tailored next steps you can take to bring your project closer to optimal health. Conduct multiple assessments throughout the project’s lifecycle and watch your project’s health improve.
Better change management leads to better results. The research in Figure 1 above shows it: of participants who reported “good” change management on their project, 77% of them met or exceeded their objectives. With “excellent” change management, project success went up to 96%. By evaluating your change management efforts, you can improve them in real time for the initiative, and plan more effectively for your next initiative. This will result in higher adoption rates, better ROI, and more efficient use of time and energy.
Prosci has spent almost two decades collecting research on what leads to excellent change management. Our research has revealed seven contributors to change success:
Each of these factors can play a critical role in taking your change management effort to its most effective level, but knowing where your current efforts stand can be a challenge.
To discover how well your change management application aligns with these seven best practices, use the cloud-based eBest Practices Audit. This diagnostic tool asks a series of questions for each of these change management best practices and allows you to assess your change management efforts against them. After the assessment reveals your current strengths and weaknesses, the tool will offer next steps to bring your efforts into further alignment.
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.