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In today's environment, organizations are continuously introducing changes in response to internal and external stimuli. Some of these changes focus on processes, others on technologies and others on the structure of the organization. Regardless of the type, each of these changes impacts how individual employees do their jobs. The success of the change depends on the success of change management at encouraging individuals to embrace, adopt and utilize a required change.

An Integrated Approach for Individual and Organizational Change

The Prosci change management methodology provides change management practitioners with the processes and tools to build customized, targeted and research-based change management strategies and plans to drive project results and outcomes. The unique integration of individual change management and organizational change management combines a results-oriented model for supporting a single individual through change with a process for practitioners built on decades of research.

Individual Change Management

Individual change management is an understanding of how one person makes a change successfully. Whether at home, in the community or at work, individuals move through the change process in a predictable and expected path. Individual change management provides a framework for enabling one person to make a transition.

The Prosci ADKAR® Model is the individual change management component of the Prosci change management methodology. ADKAR describes the five building blocks of successful individual change as awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement®. Here are the questions each part of ADKAR answers:

Awareness of the need for change

  • Why is the change happening?
  • Why is the change happening now?
  • What is the risk of not changing?

Desire to participate in and support the change 

  • What are the personal motivators and organizational drivers that would cause me to support the change?

Knowledge on how to change

  • What knowledge, skills and behaviors are required during and after the change is implemented?

Ability to implement required skills and behaviors

  • How do I demonstrate the ability to do my job the new way?
  • What barriers may inhibit me making the change?

Reinforcement to sustain the change

  • What will make the change stick?
  • What are the rewards, recognition, incentives and consequences?   

ADKAR is an individual model, so it describes the change process from the perspective of one impacted employee whose job is being changed as a result of a project or initiative. Whether it is a new process, a new technology, a new job role or a new behavior, a person makes the change successfully when they have awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement. If the change impacts 1,000 people, then the change will only happen when all 1,000 people have awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement. An individual change management model is crucial for effective change management because of the reality that change must happen one individual at a time. Each impacted employee must move from their own current state to their own future state.

In the Prosci change management methodology, ADKAR is used in a number of ways:

  • Making sense of change
  • Guiding change management plans
  • Measuring progress
  • Diagnosing gaps
  • Developing corrective actions
  • Enabling managers and supervisors

Organizational Change Management

Organizational change management describes the steps, activities and tools a project team or change management resource can follow to enable the required individual changes. The Prosci 3-Phase Process presents a research-based approach for creating customized change management strategy and plans.

Prosci 3-Phase Process for organizational change

The Prosci 3-Phase Process is built in three phases: preparing for change, managing change and reinforcing change®. Each phase includes associated activities and tools for change management practitioners:

3-phase process

Phase 1: Preparing for change

  • Conduct readiness assessments 
  • Develop risk analysis 
  • Identify special tactics
  • Identify anticipated resistance 
  • Document strategy 
  • Architect team structure and prepare the team 
  • Develop sponsorship model and prepare sponsors

Phase 2: Managing change

  • Customize activities based on strategy analysis
  • Create communications plan 
  • Create sponsor roadmap 
  • Create coaching plan 
  • Create training plan 
  • Create resistance management plan 
  • Integrate plans into the overall project plan 
  • Execute change management plans

Phase 3: Reinforcing change

  • Collect proactive feedback
  • Listen to employees 
  • Audit compliance 
  • Identify gaps 
  • Identify resistance and pockets of resistance 
  • Celebrate successes 
  • Transition to business as usual

Whereas the individual change management model focuses on how a single person makes a successful change, the organizational change management process focuses on the activities taken by a team to enable and encourage those individual changes.

Integrating Individual and Organizational Change

Effective change management requires two components: an individual change management model that describes how a single person makes a change and an organizational change management process that describes the process and tools practitioners use.

The individual change management model provides the outcome-orientation to change management. The Prosci ADKAR Model describes what you are trying to achieve when you work to manage the people side of a project or initiative.

The organizational change management process provides the activity-orientation and lays out the actions a practitioner must complete for a project or initiative. The Prosci 3-Phase Process describes what you will do to encourage those individual transitions required by your project.

Managing change without both perspectives is ineffective. Without an individual change management model, you cannot focus on the project outcomes. Instead, you become focused on your work (such as sending a newsletter) instead of what you are trying to achieve (such as sharing why the change is necessary).

But without an organizational change management process, changes become unmanageable when they impact dozens or hundreds or thousands of employees. The organizational change management framework guides actual work in a manageable and repeatable way.

The Prosci change management methodology uniquely integrates individual change management and organizational change management. Here are a few ways these perspectives integrate when a practitioner applies the Prosci 3-Phase Process. During each step of the organizational change perspective’s 3-Phase Process, a practitioner with accomplish the needs of the individual change’s perspective:

Phase 1: Preparing for change

  • Identifying impacted groups
  • Defining the required individual changes
  • Anticipating resistance from impacted groups
  • Creating a sponsor model representing impacted groups

Phase 2: Managing change

Answers to these questions:

  • What do we communicate?
  • Why are sponsors important?
  • What coaching do we need?
  • What training do we need?
  • How will we manage resistance?

Phase 3: Reinforcing change

  • Collecting individual feedback 
  • Listening to impacted employees
  • Auditing compliance at the individual level
  • Measuring if the change is happening
  • Identifying gaps and developing appropriate responses

Successful change management results from integrating an outcome-oriented individual change management approach and an activity-oriented organizational change management approach. By aligning what we are trying to achieve with what we are doing, the Prosci change management methodology provides the structure and tools necessary to drive project results and outcomes by managing the people side of change. For some practitioners, this integrated approach requires a reorientation of thinking, away from the work being done toward the desired outcome of that work. But in the end, since the individual is truly the unit of change, successful change management must leverage an individual change management model and an organizational change management approach.