Change Management: A Smart Business Move

Change. Did you just shudder?

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Did you start having flashbacks of a new process that took twice as long? Or maybe a system that you had no idea was changing or how to navigate. Have you experienced morale decreasing around the water cooler as everyone aired their grievances about things happening to them and feeling devalued and out of control?

Too often, companies proceed with new systems, processes or organizational changes solely focused on delivering the technical solution. While, yes, you must deliver a solid technical solution, that solution will be useless if no one uses it.

This is where change management comes into play. Organizational change management is a framework used to manage the human behaviors that occur when major changes are made within enterprises in order to deliver the expected outcomes and results.

Where an effective change management program was in place, 88% of those projects met or exceeded expectations, compared to 17% of projects that didn’t (Prosci Best Practices Study of over 400 companies, 2007).

Change management is founded on the concept that people go through multiple stages before adopting change. Knowing these stages and considering them at the beginning could be key to ensuring the ROI of an initiative is fully realized or even exceeded.

While there are a few different change models, I commonly refer to the ADKAR model developed by Prosci.

Awareness – Consider this the first introduction to the upcoming change. It is important that this effort take place in the beginning stages of the project in order to build buy-in early and control rumors and fear before implementation.

Desire – What’s in it for me? This stage often consists of examples that help people start envisioning their life with the upcoming changes.

Knowledge – Training is core to this stage and special attention must be paid to timing. Too early and people won’t retain the knowledge or be able to move into the next stage. Too late and people will feel unprepared and begin questioning the benefits of the change.

Ability – This is where the rubber meets the road. If people have successfully moved through the previous three stages, they should be able to perform once the change is implemented. It is important to have clear help channels and resources readily available to ensure people feel supported during the transition.

Reinforcement – Most change management efforts begin to dissolve after the change goes live. It is important to have plans in place to regularly evaluate adoption metrics and be proactive with when negative trends begin to surface.

At the end of the day, businesses that take people into consideration prior to implementing a process, system or organizational structure are making a financial decision to take the chance out of change.

This post was written by Brittany Thomas, Account Supervisor, Energy Client Lead


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