Organizational change management and project success: Part 2

Organizational change management and project success: Part 2

In the second of a two-part blog series, ITSM and organizational change expert, Karen Ferris continues her exploration of organizational change management  (OCM) by looking at managing and reinforcing change. She also considers the knowledge and tools available in ITIL® Practitioner to support change professionals with OCM.

Karen FerrisWhen starting to develop change management plans, you first need a sponsorship roadmap.

This is a living, evolving thing for the duration of the change initiative, telling the sponsors what we need them to do and when while specifying key roles and responsibilities.

Within ITIL Practitioner there is a sponsor roadmap toolkit to help you plan what to do at commencement, design and implementation.

The ADKAR model

Coming from the same stable as PROSCI (an OCM research and training organization), the ADKAR model is used to determine the status of people affected by a change initiative. This covers:

  • Awareness
  • Desire
  • Knowledge
  • Ability
  • Reinforcement

Using a question template, you need to ask people and groups where they are on the change continuum. For example, are they aware of the change? Do they have the desire to make the change? A scoring system for their responses will show where the stakeholders are and what are the “barriers” to their transition.

Consequently, if the barrier is knowledge you need to put training in place. Ultimately, the ADKAR model will help inform your resistance management plan. It also feeds into the force field analysis (also a toolkit template and example output in ITIL Practitioner) which pinpoints the forces for change, either positive (the customer wants it; it will lower costs) or negative (staff fears of disruption, increased costs).

You rate the forces identified on 1-5 scoring system to provide a visual illustration of the forces for and against which allows you to make adjustments. For example, a good resistance management plan might raise costs but decrease staff resistance to change. Your job is to ensure the driving forces are greater than the restraining forces on change.

The Resistance Management Plan

This describes the tactics needed to minimise resistance at each level in the organization. For example, it can include:

  • Key messaging
  • Communications channels to use
  • Engagement activities e.g. face-to-face meetings
  • The personal messages needed from an authorising sponsor
  • Creation of a network of change agents
  • Training for executives to help them minimize resistance.

Managers need the skills to see where resistance is coming from and why, which means asking questions and exploring the answers.

This isn’t easy and a many people don’t appreciate what resistance to change is about. However, if you ignore resistance, people will not adopt the change. The risk is to underestimate resistance, thinking of it as a troublesome employee. In fact, the resistance could be relatively minor and manageable if you can surface it.

Training needs analysis

The training needs analysis is fed by your ADKAR model and is about identifying whether your people have the knowledge and ability for the change initiative. This also involves talking to and observing people to see what training they need.

The training needs analysis matrix in ITIL Practitioner helps you identify who is affected by each job role, technology, processes and what training they need. Indeed, it’s important to measure the effectiveness of the training. For example, if you aim to increase self-help for customers and reduce service desk calls, then measure the result.

Communication plan

This is not sending out an email. That is not communication – it is broadcasting! Communication needs to be two-way with methods for people to respond and ask questions. It also allows you to devise comprehensive FAQs for everyone.

Your communication plan needs to consider:

  • Which channels?
  • What are you going to say and to whom?
  • How often?
  • What channels are there for feedback?

And if your change is introducing something “new and shiny”, reflect that in your communication and avoid resorting to traditional (boring) communication methods.

Equally, give people enough communication but don’t overload them, while delivering different and appropriate content for each stakeholder group.

Reinforcing change

It’s human nature to revert to what you know and what’s familiar, so you need to ensure your change is becoming embedded. That might need reinforcing the change.

So, you need to capture statistics on the uptake of the change, such as the use of technology, how well a new process is working and end-to-end service performance. The metrics and measurement toolkit in ITIL Practitioner offers guidance on how to capture SMART, quantitative metrics, which should be analysed alongside talking to people about well they are adopting change.

The intelligence you gather will help to start diagnosing any gaps, such as sufficient training to help people do things differently. It will also help identify any groups that have been missed, those who might still be resistant and those who need reinforcement through communication and engagement.

And don’t forget to celebrate success: this provides a powerful message to the whole workforce and can be achieved simply through verbal recognition, with something mentioned in a town hall meeting or even a newsletter.

Recognizing the importance of Organizational Change Management (OCM)

A major source of failure in change initiatives is allowing OCM to end when an initiative ends. OCM needs to continue to ensure the initiative becomes business as usual activity.

OCM practitioners get it – projects can say we’ve delivered and let’s move on. But people might be struggling with the change and OCM needs to continue to make sure the change becomes embedded as BAU. OCM principles mean you can measure the uptake of the change and go back if people need reinforcement. If they don’t, you can say “job done”.

While practitioners reading and adopting ITIL Practitioner understand this and how it helps them deal with change, I would like to see wider recognition of the importance of OCM in everything organization’s do.

I say this because change involves people and people are complex creatures! We have a duty to help them transition through change because – without doubt – change can be painful but that doesn’t mean it can’t be successful.

Read the first post in this series, Organizational change management and project success: Part 1.

Watch a recording of the supporting webinar, ‘How Organizational Change Management will stop your projects failing’ presented by Karen Ferris in April 2017.

Read more AXELOS Blog Posts from Karen Ferris

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ITIL® Practitioner - Design for Experience

Observe Directly: how to avoid the "watermelon effect"

ITIL Practitioner: Organizational Change Management

Top 10 reasons why ITSM practitioners should welcome ITIL® Practitioner

Why Organizational Change Management is important for ITSM

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17 Apr 2017 PromoOcodes
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I like visiting your site since I always come across interesting articles like this one. Great Job, I greatly appreciate that. Do Keep sharing!
19 May 2020 Amey Nevrekar
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ITIL is vast and generally confusing...Thanks for keeping the concepts and the rfeading material simple and easy to understand
19 May 2020 Amey Nevrekar
Alternate text
ITIL is vast and generally confusing...Thanks for keeping the concepts and the rfeading material simple and easy to understand
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