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Explore the Levels of Change Management

Assessing Your Organizational Change Management Capabilities

Written by Tim Creasey

3 Mins



Many organizations struggle to demonstrate measurable progress on their efforts to build change capabilities. To help you meet this challenge, Prosci developed the Change Management Maturity Model Audit, a robust assessment based on five capability areas—five unique sets of detailed, observable and measurable organizational change management attributes. Evaluating these helps you uncover your overall organizational change management competency and the precise progress you have made in each area. More importantly, the findings fuel critical discussions with leaders about how to build a targeted approach to maturing in change management as an organization.

Capability Area 1: Leadership

This area focuses on the specific leadership activities necessary for building organizational change management competencies. How committed is leadership to organizational change management? What activities or messages does leadership undertake to communicate the value of change management and the effort to build an internal competency? Who is sponsoring change management deployment? If your organization is less capable in this area, it's the area you should focus on first.

Key elements of leadership capability:

  • Communications from key leaders about the importance of managing the people side of change
  • Strength of sponsor coalition for change management deployment
  • Vision for the change management deployment effort
  • Funding and resources for the change management capability project
  • Leadership accessibility, decision-making and engagement with the project team working to institutionalize change management
  • Creation of business rules, policies and procedures that establish change management

Capability Area 2: Application

This capability area enables you to assess how people use change management processes and tools on projects and initiatives within your organization. What percentage of projects are leveraging change management? Are adequate people and funding available to apply change management to projects and initiatives across the organization?

Key issues to assess include:

  • Percentage of projects applying a structured change management approach
  • Consistent change management methodology and tools
  • Functions, divisions or units applying change management
  • Types of projects applying change management
  • Availability of tools for managing the people side of change
  • Availability of change management practitioners to apply processes and tools to projects
  • Budget and funding availability for change management on projects and initiatives

Capability Area 3: Competencies

Change management is ultimately accomplished by employees, supervisors, managers, leaders, project teams and practitioners throughout the organization. The third capability area, competencies, looks at the training and development of these key groups of people who must apply change management tools and principles. Who in the organization has been trained? Have they demonstrated change management capability?

To understand the competency area, you must understand the extent to which your organization has:

  • Trained change management practitioners and demonstrated change management practitioner competencies
  • Delivered executive and senior leader training on change management and sponsorship
  • Demonstrated executive and senior leader sponsorship competencies
  • Delivered manager and supervisor training and demonstrated manager and supervisor change coaching competencies
  • Trained employees on guiding themselves through change and demonstrated employee competencies in change management 
  • Delivered project team training on change management and demonstrated project team competencies
  • Demonstrated effectiveness of training programs for change management
  • Offered continuing education opportunities in change management

Capability Area 4: Standardization

The standardization capability area looks at the mechanisms and systems used to institutionalize change management. Is every part of your organization using one consistent change management approach? Have you integrated change management with project management? Have you included change management in other improvement approaches? Standardization is the capability area that enables effective change management to become a fixed component of how the organization introduces change.

Crucial elements of standardization to assess include:

  • Provision and adoption of a standard methodology and tools for change management
  • Use of a continuous improvement process for the change management approach
  • Creation of change management office, positions, job roles and applying-adkar-image-featurenetworks
  • Establishment of a complete change management training curriculum
  • Integration of change management with standard project delivery process
  • Integration of change management with ongoing improvement systems and “change-initiating” processes and systems 

Capability Area 5: Socialization

The fifth and final capability area, socialization, focuses on creating buy-in and commitment for change management. Effectively building capabilities and competencies requires this from every level of an organization. Does the organization view change management as a competitive differentiator and core competency? Is reinforcement in place to sustain change management at every level of the organization? 

Look for the following components of socialization:

  • Executive charter for building change management capabilities and competencies
  • Understanding of the value of change management and buy-in for applying change management within the organization
  • Recognizing a shared definition of change management across the organization
  • Capturing, publicizing and sharing change management successes
  • Evaluating change management effectiveness and success during change
  • Reinforcement for sustained change management application

Understanding where you stand on the five capability areas is only the beginning. The Prosci Change Management Maturity Model Audit enables you to score incremental progress on dozens of attributes. In addition to leveraging the research-based rubric, you can conduct multiple assessments across divisions, analyze gaps and even benchmark your progress against the hundreds of organizations that have completed the audit. Instead of relying on educated guesses, precise data informs your team, your leadership and your quest for organizational change management maturity.

Five Levels of Change Management Maturity article