Successful Change Takes More Than Designing a Beautiful Solution
Written by Tim Creasey
Changes ultimately come to life through the individuals who have to do their jobs differently as a result of a project or initiative. Whether the project involves a process impacting 15 people, a new technology impacting 150, or a transformation impacting 15,000, the success of the project is inextricably linked to the successful adoption and usage by those individuals. Did they get on board, or did they stay on the shore?
Are you new to change management or simply curious about its benefits?
Prosci's starter bundle delivers the resources you need to start applying change management to projects.
A Simple Analogy for the People Side of Change
To help visually depict this, imagine two ships: one that represents a completed project where the people side of change was managed effectively, and one where it was not. In both cases, a beautiful ship was constructed, and it now needs a full working crew. However, one ship was left isolated and empty while the other ship was full of life and people who "got on board."
The comments below represent what you might hear from a project manager or leader in each situation.
|The Empty Ship||The Full Ship|
|We thought we could just
tell people to do it
|We made a compelling case for why
the change was needed
|We designed the perfect solution
(process, technology, etc.)
|We spent as much time managing people through the transition as we did developing the "right" answer|
|Things were so bad before, we thought
they would just jump on board
|We recognized that the desire to
change is a personal choice
|Our executives signed the check, signed the
charter and then moved on
|Our senior leaders were active and visible
sponsors throughout the project
|We just expected that people managers would be on board and figure out what to do||We engaged people managers as change leaders and as critical feedback channels|
|We told people what would happen to them
if they didn’t comply
|We anticipated resistance and worked to
proactively address objections and concerns
|We communicated project timelines, milestones, progress and design details||We communicated the messages people wanted to hear: why the change was needed, how it aligned with the business direction, and the "What's in it for me" or WIIFM|
|We ignored the people side of change||We applied effective change management|
Getting Started in Change Management
Think about the projects and initiatives you've supported. Have they been more like the comments on the left or the comments on the right? Have you done what is needed to get people on board, or have you just built a beautiful ship? This simple analogy is helpful for understanding change management and why you need it, and explaining it to others. And you can use Prosci 4 P's Exercise to begin connecting the people side of change to the results of a current project in your organization. What are you waiting for?