Examining the definition of change management

The phrase "change management" can mean many things to many different people. Some may see it as simply communications and training. Others may see it from an IT perspective as the process for managing hardware and software version control. In the project management world, the phrase has sometimes been used to describe the steps for addressing a change in schedule or scope. And, some in the change management community have entertained other words as a label for managing the people side of change. This tutorial provides a definition for change management and then examines the three components of the definition. The need for a common and shared definition While some might argue that this is purely semantics, a clear definition of change management and the underlying meaning of the definition is important for practitioners working to support projects and initiatives and for organizations looking to build a competency in effectively managing change. The goal here is to put a "stake in the ground" - providing a context and definition that practitioners can use when they discuss change management with others in the organization. Many of the myths associated with change management result from: 1) change management not being connected to delivering value to the organization, and 2) confusion or misunderstanding about what change management really means. By communicating about change management with the three elements of the definition below, change management professionals can address these myths and better position themselves within the projects they work on and the organization as a whole.

Definition foundation: finding a place for change management
There is a simple logic flow that leads us to the definition of change management and to why change management is necessary for the many transformational and improvement efforts underway in organizations today. The logic flow is presented below: • • • • Projects and initiatives in the organization …are launched in order to cause… Improvements in performance (why) …by making changes to… Processes, systems, tools, job roles, organization structures (what) …which ultimately require… Individuals to change how they do their jobs (how)

The "why" for projects and initiatives taking place in an organization is to improve performance. There can be many reasons to launch a project or initiative, including: customer demands, competitive response, internal performance (or lack of), regulation or legislation, market shifts, etc. Each of these triggers present an opportunity or an issue the organization needs to address. Improvements in performance result from the "what" in the logic flow - changes to processes, systems, tools, job roles or organization structures. These are the targets of the solution that is developed to address the opportunity or issue. The ultimate "how" shows up at the end of the logic flow - any change to processes, systems, tools, job roles or organization structures ultimately impacts how some people in the organization do their jobs. It may be a dozen people in a work group, several hundred people in a particular department or division, or thousands of people across the entire enterprise. In the end, projects or initiatives require

the project will not succeed. systems. processes. Change management is: Definition Prosci's definition of change management is shown below: Definition: Change management is the [application of] the set of tools. tools. job roles or organization structures. skills and principles for managing the people side of change to achieve the required outcomes of a change project or initiative The definition has three distinct clauses that will be addressed in more detail in this tutorial: • • • the set of tools.some individuals to change how they do their jobs. we will examine the clauses in reverse order. This is where change management fits in .at the bottom of the logic flow. If these individuals do not adopt the change to their day-to-day work. from the last to the first. processes. skills and principles for managing the people side of change to achieve the required outcomes of the project or initiative For this tutorial. . Change management is the approach for supporting individuals through the changes required in how they do their jobs. There are many approaches for identifying where to improve performance and for managing solution designs for processes.

This clause is particularly important when change management is being discussed with project managers. connects change management to the ultimate value or objectives that the organization is looking to derive from implementing the change (the project or initiative). in no uncertain terms. Prosci's correlation analysis of data from the 2009 and 2007 benchmarking studies shows that projects with excellent change management are six times more likely to meet objectives than those with poor change management. Change management is not applied on a project simply to keep change management professionals busy. showing that effective change management also increases the likelihood of staying on schedule and on budget. projects with good change management in place are five times more likely to meet objectives than those with poor change management. project teams and senior leaders. Benchmarking data clearly shows the connection between managing the people side of change and achieving the required outcomes of the project or initiative. Project teams care about being on time and on budget. though. When having a discussion about the value that change management delivers. The clause. . it is important for change management practitioners to have this clause be part of their own definition of change management. but the first we will address. or perhaps skeptical of what is called "change management" might be surprised by this part of the definition.Clause 1: The last clause of the definition. it is important to focus on what the audience cares about. And. Many who are new to change management. the better the people side of change is managed the more successful a project will be. The 2002 McKinsey Quarterly article "Helping employees embrace change" draws a similar conclusion based on data from forty projects. The analysis goes one step further. Not only does the data suggest that a connection exists between change management effectiveness and project success. or because it seems like a good idea. Change management is a tool for enabling project success. The bottom line is. and it is important that this focus be part of the change management discussion and definition. is "to achieve the required outcomes of the project or initiative".

Think about these two rhetorical questions: • • What value does a new process deliver if no one follows it? What value does a new technology deliver if no one uses it? The answer to both questions is: none. individuals will have to do their jobs differently. In the end. most of the strategic and important changes in an organization ultimately impact people and how they do their jobs.and creating a measurable improvement in how the organization operates via the project or initiative.meeting objectives and delivering value to the organization. By building this context and connection. the Particulars (what we are changing) and the People (who are changing). Adding this clause to the definition moves us away from change management as a "soft" disciple to change management as a crucial component of successful change. Senior leaders care about financial and strategic objectives. Change management professionals who can directly connect change management effectiveness to these objectives are more likely to receive the commitment and support they need. you can help project teams and senior leaders begin to identify the people change required for a project or initiative (read . there is only one goal of applying change management on a project or initiative . the Purpose (why we are changing). Prosci's exercise for connecting change management to business results presents a simple framework where you identify the Project. Clause 2: The "people side" of change refers to the reality that when a new process is introduced or a new technology is implemented. And. Projects and initiatives that impact how people do their jobs need structure and planning to address that "people side" of their changes.

more about the P-P-P-P exercise). In the end. Prosci's ADKAR® Model presents a simple but powerful framework for describing successful change at the individual level. as a disciple. A key component for managing the people side of change is understanding how one individual makes a change successfully. Clause 3: . Said another way. ADKAR describes the "ends" of successful organizational change. Knowledge. ADKAR states that for an individual to make a change. the ultimate success of the initiative is tied to how successfully each individual who must adopt the change makes their own personal transition from their current state to their future state. the individual is the unit of change. provides structure for helping individuals change. Even for very large and complex changes. Desire. since those individuals are the "people side" of the change effort. Ability and Reinforcement (read more aboutapplications of ADKAR). organizational change occurs one person at a time. Change management. he or she needs: • • • • • Awareness of the need for change Desire to participate and support the change Knowledge on how to change Ability to implement required skills and behaviors Reinforcement to sustain the change Changes are successful when each employee who must do things differently has Awareness.

Some of these tools are familiar and used readily on projects . Each of the plans have a particular element of individual change as their focus. Processes: A change management process provides the structure for managing the people side of change. The plans are the levers or tools available to bring about personal transitions and represent concrete deliverables that can be woven into a project plan. Phase 2 . the five change management tools or levers described above are created and integrated into the project plan. Phase 3 . However.Managing change.namely the communication plan and training plan. Communication Plan and Training Plan. Coaching Plan.Managing change. Like processes for managing the technical side of a project. a series of readiness assessments and analysis provides the situational awareness required to manage the change at hand.Reinforcing change. the change management process describes the sequence of activities that a change management practitioner would follow on a particular project or initiative. Resistance Management Plan. processes. identifying resistance. The outputs of Phase 1 are a customized change management strategy. InPhase 1 Preparing for change. to be most effective these plans are built within a holistic process. skills and principles". Prosci'sorganizational change management process has three distinct phases: Phase 1 Preparing for change. . mechanisms are established for gathering feedback. is "the set of tools. It is no longer enough to simply have a communication plan or a training plan. a Resistance Management Plan focuses on Desire. In Phase 3 . for example a Communication Plan aims at creating Awareness and Reinforcement. This holistic process ensures that best practices are incorporated. Change management requires structure and intent. Tools: Effective change management draws upon a number of tools to enable successful individual change. The people side of change plays too important of a role in meeting objectives to approach it in an ad hoc manner.The final clause. correcting gaps and measuring adoption and compliance. In Prosci's methodology. and a Training Plan addresses Knowledge and Ability.Sponsorship Roadmap. which is actually the first in the definition. In Phase 2 . the necessary supporting structures (sponsorship and team model) and special tactics for the initiatives.Reinforcing change. there are five major plans created .

processes. The "face and voice" of change management are found throughout the organization. .important steps are not missed and lessons learned are applied to speed up the change management Skills: Change management is not done by a single individual.demonstrating their commitment. but the "employee facing" roles in change management are the executives. skills and principles to be effective. From a skills perspective. authority and support. employees look to the person they report to and the person in charge for direction. building support and managing resistance. this means that effective change management requires competencies in leading change throughout the organization. In the end.that employees need a compelling case for change above and beyond a perfect solution. processes and activities of change management. change management professionals can be more effective and credible within the organizations and projects they support. shape how change management is applied on a project or initiative. Change management professionals are enablers. Value systems in organizations also play a key role in how changes are introduced and managed. Frontline supervisors and middle managers play a key role in communicating with direct reports. coaching them through the change process. the degree to which the people side of change is effectively managed determines the value a project or initiative delivers to the organization. Principles: Finally. or even a team dedicated to change management. managers and supervisors (read more about roles in change management). there are key guiding principles for change that are evident in the tools. Executives and senior leaders must fulfill the role of "sponsors of change" in support of a project or initiative . For instance. By working to bring about a clear and shared definition. along with other guiding principles. Change management is a holistic and structured approach for enabling and supporting individual change. and not as a discrete event. is a key principle for how change can be successfully managed. These. A second principle is "the right answer is not enough" . In times of change. the notion that change happens as a process. It requires tools. leaders.