Adaptability has become a new survival skill in today's business world, where change occurs at an unprecedented pace. As Bryan Fontaine, a former EVP at Bose, aptly noted, the time for minor tweaks is over.

Businesses today are integrating people, processes and technology on a grand scale, navigating faster, more complex changes that require a holistic approach.

By embracing effective change leadership, providing targeted training, and employing strategic communication, change readiness prepares your company for the future and actively fuels the desire to move forward.

What Is Change Readiness?

Prosci defines change readiness as the level to which an organization is prepared, willing and able to implement change. This concept covers several facets:

  • Organizational readiness This includes having a change infrastructure in place, completed training, readily available resources for change, a committed sponsor, and clear objectives and plans for the change.
  • Open attitudes toward change The organization's level of understanding and willingness to change and the successful management of employee resistance are considered indicators of change readiness.
  • Individual readiness – On a personal level, change readiness is about individuals being ready, willing and able to embrace and carry out the change.

You can use these elements in your readiness assessment to determine if your organization is ready to take on and succeed at change.

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Why Organizations Need Change Readiness

Companies today are constantly facing new challenges, from new technologies and shifting market demands to changes in regulations and global competition. These disruptions can make it difficult for employees to keep up.

When workers struggle to adapt or resist these changes, progress and innovation can slow down. Our Best Practices in Change Management study found that employee resistance to change is one of the top obstacles to change success.

Greatest Change Management Obstacles

Graph showing greatest change management obstacles.

To encourage change readiness, companies need to build a culture that welcomes change. The key to making an organization more adaptable is to:

  • Give employees training to handle new challenges. For instance, if your company is adopting new software, provide hands-on workshops and tutorials to help employees learn and feel comfortable with the new system.
  • Keep communication open and clear about changes. Let's say your organization is going through a restructuring. Hold regular meetings to explain the reasons behind the changes, what to expect, and how it will impact employees' roles and responsibilities.
  • Provide strong leadership to guide the way. Imagine that your company is entering a new market. Leaders should communicate this expansion's vision, strategy and goals while leading by example.

What Is the Role of Leadership in Change Readiness?

Correlation of Sponsor Effectiveness With Meeting Objectives

Graph showing correlation of sponsor effectiveness with meeting objectives.

Leaders act as primary sponsors during change. They lend credibility to the change process, authorize resources, lead by example by showing adaptability and positivity in the face of challenges, and demonstrate support for employees throughout the transition.

Successful change hinges on leaders’ ability to actively and visibly participate, build coalitions of sponsorship, and communicate effectively.

However, challenges arise when leaders encounter change saturation, a disconnect in understanding their roles, or the inability to fulfill their roles.

The Prosci ADKAR® Model offers a solution, advocating for a sequential approach to change. Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement are key to achieving change readiness.

Also, partnering with Prosci experts enables directors and senior leaders to create a more adaptable organizational culture by:

  • Encouraging openness and readiness for change among employees through behavioral and cultural adjustments
  • Reinforcing the value and importance of positive changes
  • Reflecting on and learning from past changes to refine future approaches
  • Taking ownership of failures and celebrating successes to model resilience
  • Building a foundation for a change-ready organization

The leadership-driven approach to change management at Bose

According to Bryan Fontaine, former EVP at Bose, "Active and visible sponsorship is the number one predictor of change success." This belief shaped Bose's approach to change management.

Fontaine emphasized leadership involvement and open communication. He understood that effective leadership meant being at the forefront of change initiatives, inspiring and empowering others to embrace new ways of thinking and working.

Under his guidance, Bose embedded change readiness into its operations, understanding that each change affects everyone differently. Leaders got involved to engage directly with projects and people.

This shift was about fostering genuine engagement, learning from past mistakes, and celebrating big and small successes.

Fontaine's approach, emphasizing direct leadership involvement and encouraging open communication, wasn't just about managing change better—it was about making it a core part of how Bose operates. This proved that when leaders lead by example, the whole organization moves forward.

Learn more from Fontaine in this webinar.

Employee Training and Development

The Prosci ADKAR Model

The Prosci ADKAR Model

Organizational change requires an entire workforce to come together to apply skills that will work in real situations. This transition from Knowledge to Ability (K-to-A) is crucial.

Knowledge equips individual employees to understand the what, why and how of change. This lays the foundation for real transformation.

Yet, Ability—being capable of applying this knowledge proficiently—is the true measure of change readiness. Without it, knowledge stays theoretical and unused.

Training programs are pivotal in bridging the gap between Knowledge and Ability, offering the theory and practical skills needed for change. Training should offer practical exercises—like role-playing scenarios, case study analysis, and team-building exercises—along with coaching and feedback.

To close the K-to-A gap, you also need:

  • Direct involvement of coaches
  • Access to subject matter experts
  • Performance monitoring

Overcoming challenges like limited skill-development time, inadequate support, and entrenched habits is vital for developing Ability.  

How Each Plan Primarily Influences the ADKAR Model

Importance of training and development in the ADKAR Model_no title-1

MGIC, a leading mortgage insurer, recognized the importance of enhanced change management post-recession. Under Gina Zielinski and Patti Ulwelling's leadership, the organization launched targeted training based on the Prosci ADKAR® Model.

The initiative started with leadership engagement and expanded to include Prosci change management training programs for both managers and change practitioners. The company's focus on practical application—encouraging participants to share their learnings and discuss how to develop and adjust plans—bridged the K-to-A journey, equipping employees to implement change management principles effectively.

Learn more about MGIC's success with change using Prosci approaches when you read the detailed case study.

Effective Communications Strategies

Preferred Senders of Messages

Chart showing preferred senders of messages for different kinds of business messages.

Effective communication strategies are a critical component in change management. They focus on the timely and targeted sharing of the what and why behind change efforts.

Beyond just informing, these strategies aim to actively engage employees, incorporating the Awareness and Reinforcement stages of the ADKAR Model while also addressing the complete spectrum of change management needs to include Desire, Knowledge and Ability.

For communication to truly resonate, it must:

  • Start early
  • Be frequent enough to maintain clarity without overwhelming employees
  • Use various mediums for broad reach and comprehension

For more insights, download our Communications Checklist.

A successful communication plan hinges on knowing the audience, selecting the appropriate people to deliver certain messages at the right times, and weaving these efforts into broader change management activities to facilitate smooth transitions.

Communication is critical to holistic change management planning and essential for aligning organizational objectives with employee actions and attitudes.

Managing Resistance To Change

Change Management Focuses on the People Impacted by Change

Pictorial representation of how to reach from the current state to the future state successfully.

Resistance management involves proactively working to mitigate resistance throughout the project lifecycle, so people and groups can move from the current state to the future state and adopt a change successfully.

A common issue for change practitioners and enterprises building change readiness is understanding where to start or how to define it. Creating a common definition and highlighting what behaviors you expect to see in a change-ready organization is essential.

Prosci experts help organizations with this kind of work, namely:

  • How to prepare leaders to navigate rapid change without outside support
  • How to turn change readiness into a behavior so it builds a culture of change

Common pain points for enterprises working to build change readiness include overcoming the failures of past changes and change saturation. They often don’t have much control over either of these.

So, instead, they need to focus on the narrative of what’s ahead. If you can acknowledge the troubles of the past, that can go a long way with individual contributors.

Building trust is essential for a change-ready organization.

Change readiness is about trust and mindsets. If these are lacking, people will face each new change with skepticism and resistance.

Resistance is a natural human reaction to change, rooted in the discomfort of moving from a known, comfortable state to an unfamiliar future. The Prosci Methodology emphasizes that recognizing and addressing resistance is not about fault-finding but rather empathetically engaging with employees to understand their objections and concerns.

To effectively manage resistance, Prosci advocates for a proactive approach, employing strategies such as:

  • Listening to and understanding employee objections
  • Involving employees in shaping change
  • Identifying and addressing physical and psychological barriers to change
  • Providing clear choices and consequences of non-adoption
  • Creating a vision of hope and opportunities through change

Check out our webinar on understanding resistance through ADKAR.

Change Readiness and Innovation

Nurturing a culture that welcomes and prepares for change is essential for organizations to be change-ready and innovative.

The Prosci ADKAR Model highlights the crucial shift from Knowledge to practical Ability as the key to real transformation. This shift is foundational for nurturing continuous innovation and integrating change readiness into the organization's core.

By focusing on building Ability, which involves practice, time, coaching and the right tools, employees can effectively apply new skills and behaviors and ensure changes are implemented and sustained.

Change Readiness and Organizational Culture

To boost change readiness, organizations must build a culture that sees change as a path to growth and innovation. Integrating change management activities into your cultural framework enables you to handle today’s changes skillfully and prepare for future challenges.

Organizational culture has a profound influence on an organization's ability to receive and integrate change. Successful cultures perceive change as a growth opportunity rather than a threat.

A case in point is the Academic Health System, which overcame substantial integration challenges within two years by adopting the Prosci Methodology. Key strategies included:

  • Leadership as change catalysts – Highlighting leadership's critical role in creating a change-receptive culture
  • Structured change management – Employing the Prosci Methodology ensured a consistent and repeatable approach to tackling integration challenges
  • Active and informed sponsorship – Keeping sponsors engaged and informed to align change initiatives with organizational culture
  • Empowering change practitioners – Certifying staff in the Prosci Methodology to weave change management into the organization's ethos
  • Assessing and addressing gaps – Using ADKAR Assessments to identify and mitigate adoption gaps

Learn more when you read the full case study.

Strategies for Building Change Agility 

A strategic emphasis on adaptability is essential to building organizational agility. This involves creating a culture that anticipates change and seamlessly integrates it.

Prosci approaches boost agility by:

  • Promoting cross-organizational collaboration
  • Anticipating and preparing for change
  • Implementing robust risk management practices

An agile organization empowers its workforce to respond to changes proactively rather than reactively, ensuring minimal disruption and continuous performance improvement.

Prosci change management approaches and tools involve establishing a structured process for managing change at all levels of the organization, from leadership to front-line employees.

This includes:

  • Developing a change-ready mindset among leaders
  • Establishing a change management office (CMO) to oversee and coordinate change initiatives
  • Creating a network of change advocates throughout the enterprise

Training and development play a significant role in ensuring that all organization members understand their role in the change process and are equipped with the tools to succeed.

Prosci Agility Attributes

Infographic showing Prosci agility attributes.

A successful collaboration between a municipal utility client and Prosci shows these strategies in action. By adopting the Prosci Methodology and tools, the municipal utility solidified its foundation for agility.

The municipal utility found that fragmented data and disparate systems affected the customer and employee experience. Prosci Advisors created a customized operating system that offered project support and implementation, change management capabilities and maturity, change management standard work, and change portfolio management.

Read the full case study here.

Monitoring and Evaluating Change Impact 

Correlation of Measuring Performance With Meeting or Exceeding Objectives

Graph showing correlation between compliance and metrics with meeting/exceeding objectives.

Monitoring the impact of change is essential for understanding how effectively you're adopting a change initiative and the value it adds to your organization.

Prosci recommends a structured approach focusing on:

  • Defining project success
  • Aligning on key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Tracking progress regularly

This involves engaging stakeholders early to define key success factors and the metrics that will signal project success and organizational benefits. Specifically, measuring at three levels—change management performance, individual performance, and organizational performance—provides a comprehensive view.

By quantifying the people-dependent portion of ROI, practitioners can explain the value of change management in supporting organizational change.

Meet Prosci Change Management Experts

Lisa Kempton
Director of Global Learning Product Development
The greatest opportunity to influence change success is to prevent resistance by building change readiness. Building change readiness takes less effort, is more cost-effective and has a higher potential for success compared to responding to resistance.
Teresa Hauck
Principal Change Advisor and former Senior OCM Consultant
Change readiness extends past trust and mindset. It demands a strategic and systematic approach to change management. Proactive preparation fosters trust and equips employees for change. Tracking past project health success metrics provides insight into our progress, with improving scores indicating enhanced readiness and a workforce ready for change.
Kendra Modzelewski
Advisory Services Engagement Lead and former Change Manager
Project Management Institute
Each change initiative creates an experience for our employees, and we can control whether that experience is positive or negative. When we present an effective case for change and align that with our enterprise strategy and direction, we cultivate the positive experiences that lead to change readiness and enable future changes.

Change Management for Change Readiness Case Study 

How Prospera Credit Union created a culture of change readiness post-merger

Learn directly from the architects of change at Prospera Credit Union, one of the largest credit unions in Canada, following a merger of two regional entities. The deep dive shows how the organization doubled in size and expanded its footprint by cultivating a change-ready culture.

  • Integrating change management with strategic objectives – Prospera focused on aligning change management with broader organizational goals. This strategic alignment was key to handling the complexities of merging cultures, processes and technologies.
  • Educating for empowerment – Prospera upskilled its workforce in change management to build a culture of organizational readiness. Through a partnership with Prosci, key team members were equipped with powerful tools and knowledge necessary to champion change, beginning with the Prosci Change Management Certification Program and extending through a Project Acceleration Workshop.
  • Tailoring metrics for meaningful success – To accurately measure and improve change readiness, Prospera developed metrics focused on the integration's effectiveness, cultural alignment, and seamless adoption of new processes.
  • Cultivating consensus and addressing resistance – A cornerstone of Prospera’s strategy was its proactive approach to building consensus and preparing for resistance. Through comprehensive engagement efforts, including leadership workshops and stakeholder briefings, Prospera secured essential buy-in and laid the groundwork for a unified organizational culture.
  • Leveraging communication to foster change readiness – A robust, multi-channel communication strategy strengthened the company's change readiness. By addressing diverse informational needs and preferences, Prospera ensured that every employee aligned with the merger's goals and the organizational vision for the future.

Read the full Prospera case study.

The Prosci Methodology: A Systematic Approach To Change Readiness 

The Prosci Methodology

Prosci PCT methodology diagram

Prosci has over two decades of research and hands-on experience with change management, resulting in a robust methodology for supporting organizational and individual change readiness. The Prosci Methodology comprises two core models and a robust process:

  • Prosci Change Triangle (PCT) Model – This model ensures you address four critical aspects of organizational change—success, project management, change management and sponsorship. This model defines the change initiative's goals and promotes a collaborative approach between project and change management while emphasizing leadership/sponsorship importance.
  • Prosci 3-Phase Process – This process enables organizations to prepare, equip and support individuals at scale throughout a change. The process is adaptable, repeatable, and suitable for a wide range of organizational change initiatives.
  • ADKAR Model – Recognizing that organizations change one person at a time, ADKAR provides a clear structure for individual change, focusing on Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement.

These frameworks and models support organizations in successfully implementing large-scale change by offering a clear roadmap and actionable steps. They help identify and address potential obstacles, align stakeholders, and measure progress.

Explore how the Prosci Methodology can transform your organization's approach to change.

Transform Your Organization’s Change Approach

Drive more successful change in your organization–and grow stronger from it–with a trusted, research-based methodology that centers on your people.