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Explore the Levels of Change Management

The ADKAR Model: Don't Have A Rickety Knowledge Bridge

Written by Susie Taylor

2 Mins



I don’t know about you, but when I’m crossing a bridge, I want it to be solid. I am not one of those adrenaline-loving thrill seekers who want to tempt fate and drive across a rickety ancient bridge. I want something that is modernly designed and constructed to get me successfully to the other side, thank you very much.

Think about a change as a ravine with two banks. On one side is the current state, or how things are done today. On the other side is the future state where people are able to act in new ways and have reinforcements in place to keep them from going back to old habits.

Now let’s think about the Prosci ADKAR Model in this context. As people stand in the current state, we need to build awareness of the need for the change, and help them develop the desire to journey to the other side. We then bridge from the current state of wanting to change to the future state of ability in change with knowledge. Let’s remember we don’t want to jump straight to knowledge (you want people to walk onto the bridge willingly, not be shoved onto the bridge), but regardless, the knowledge bridge is critical. You do not want a rickety, poorly planned knowledge-building strategy to get people to the other side. You need something solid.

Critical Success Factors of Project-Specific Training

In our report Best Practices in Change Management – 2016 Edition participants shared with us the critical success factors of project-specific training. These 1,120 people shared with us how they construct the most solid knowledge-building bridges.

1. Planning/design

This factor was noted more than twice as often as the other five. Participants found that preparation and design was a primary contributor to successful training, including incorporation of training needs assessments, audience customization and proactive resistance management. Participants also identified that involvement of the impacted audience during development of training was also an important success factor.

2. Timing

The second most frequent success factor was timing. Timeliness, or delivering training just-in-time, was a key contributor to the success of a training session. Additionally, the availability of training resources and flexibility within the training schedule had a direct impact on the effectiveness of project-specific training.

3. Ability and measurement

Participants determined success by measuring the demonstration of adoption and usage. They cited using management observation, post-training surveys, exams, monitoring support sites and team usage as key means of measurement.

4. Awareness and desire

Participants also identified the importance of pre-training approaches. Participants noted higher audience engagement when information was provided ahead of time regarding training requirements, how it related to a change and what was expected of them during training. They also included additional information about training schedules, locations and durations.

5. Trainee support

Participants recorded higher training success when they included support at leadership, management, peer and project team levels. They provided this support through various modes, such as intranet, peer-to-peer coaching, consistent leadership messaging, one-on-one discussions and Questions and Answers (Q&As).

6. Training approach

Having an engaging or hands-on approach to training was an additional factor participants identified. Providing trainees an immediate opportunity to practice and apply what they learned aided in the success of training. Although some participants mentioned including a blended approach to training, many emphasized incorporating hands-on activities for the immediate reinforcement of training.

What It Means for You

As you approach a change, you do need think about more than just training, but that doesn’t mean that training is not critical. Incorporate these best practices into your training strategy and build a solid bridge to the future state.

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