Many organizations are pursuing the application of change management on specific projects and initiatives. The most innovative organizations, however, are looking beyond project-by-project application and asking: how can we develop an enterprise-wide change management capability? Since 2005, Prosci has undertaken research and development to address this question. The result is Prosci’s research, tools and offerings for Enterprise Change Management (ECM). First, let’s get clear on what ECM means:

Enterprise Change Management is the systematic deployment of change management skills, tools and processes throughout an organization.

The goals of ECM are to:

  • Improve the utilization of human capital
  • Ensure all projects deliver the people-dependent ROI
  • Mitigate change saturation and its detrimental effects
  • Instill organizational agility and the ability to respond to increasing amounts of change
  • Create competitive advantage

Ultimately, ECM revolves around three main components. ECM is:

  • A common set of processes and tools for managing change
  • A leadership competency at all levels of the organization, from supervisors to senior executives
  • A strategic capability that enables the organization to be agile, change ready and responsive to marketplace changes

ECM is not one-dimensional. It is not just offering a training program on managing change, nor is it just hardwiring readiness assessments into your standard project methodology. It is not just a culture that embraces change.

Enterprise Change Management requires a holistic perspective of what it will really take to change the way your organization anticipates, implements, and succeeds with change.

Common processes and tools

There are numerous processes for managing the people side of change. While your organization can be successful using any one of these, it is beneficial to have the entire organization using a common approach. Regardless of the approach, an effective ECM change management process should:

  • Be initiated when a new project or change is introduced, not well into the project lifecycle or during the implementation phase
  • Be integrated into project management activities and treated as a unified front for deploying change, rather than just an add-on
  • Allow for the creation of common language for change, so that people in roles across the organization have a shared understanding and vernacular to use with discussing changes

Leadership competency

Change management skills are evident in all parts of the organization. While individuals can often apply change management (as a tool to make a project more successful), ECM requires that change management competencies permeate all levels of the organization. While each organization is different, in general, the following groups need to understand what change management is and why it is important, as well as understand and develop their own competencies to effectively engage in change:

  • Senior leaders
  • Project leaders and team members
  • HR, Training, and OD professionals
  • Managers and supervisors
  • Frontline employees

When an organization builds change capability, the individuals in that organization consider “effectively managing change” as one of their job responsibilities. They understand their unique role and fulfill it when changes happen.

Strategic capability

Treating ECM as a strategic capability allows you to create a competitive advantage for the organization. Change management is a critical component of organizational agility, and as organizations tackle more and greater change today than ever before, the ability to react quickly and efficiently is critical for success.

What This Means for You

With the structural elements (processes and tools) and human capital (skills and competencies) in place, organizations can truly set themselves apart. Organizations that build change capability have a higher capacity for change and can implement changes more quickly than their competitors. Building ECM, however, requires intention and focus. Learn more on how to build ECM here.

Building Enterprise Change Capability with Project ECM

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.