SoCalGas upgraded 6 million natural gas meters, and change management played a pivotal role. This change success led to developing an Enterprise Change Management team and change capabilities across the organization.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, Southern California Gas Company is the largest natural gas distribution utility in the United States. SoCalGas® delivers affordable, reliable, and increasingly renewable gas service to over 21 million consumers across 24,000 square miles of Central and Southern California.
Several years ago, the company included change management on a project to upgrade 6 million natural gas meters with communication devices. Although the company lacked a formal change management program, senior management recognized that change management was instrumental to the project’s success. Leadership decided it was time to establish an Enterprise Change Management (ECM) team and build enterprise change capability, a significant project in itself.
Once formed, the ECM team decided to partner with Prosci to meet its enterprise goals.
“We chose Prosci because of access to industry change management research, models and tools. Also important, Prosci offers a common-sense approach to change management, easy ways to clearly define and measure the success of our change initiatives, and training focused on building capabilities,”
- Cathy Chargualaf, one of SoCalGas' Business Change Managers.
To help baseline the organization’s change capability and chart their course, Chargualaf and her manager attended Prosci’s ECM Boot Camp. Together, they developed a Strategic Roadmap, which includes five main goals:
• Deliver better results and outcomes for change efforts
• Establish a common language for change
• Enable increased speed to adoption and sustainability
• Manage saturation as an input to planning and execution
• Build change agility to become a high-performing organization
Today, Don Orr leads the ECM team at SoCalGas. He says,
“Senior management understands the value of change management. Developing a program that consistently delivers positive outcomes by ensuring projects achieve their business objectives is vital to maintaining and increasing executive support.”
Erin Smith, SVP Chief Talent, Culture & Operations Support, adds, “Effective change management is a core leadership competency at SoCalGas. We know that a strong change management approach is so important not only for the success of the projects that shape our future, but also for our teams to develop and to thrive."
Building capability has focused largely on role-based training delivered over several years by Prosci and Chargualaf. This training teaches individuals at various levels of the organization how to play their unique roles during times of change. Prosci Executive Instructors have delivered the following programs onsite multiple times:
• Change Management Certification Program
• Change Management Sponsor Briefing
• Methodology Application Program
Several ECM and HR team members became Prosci Train-the-Trainers, giving them the credentials to deliver select role-based Prosci programs internally at SoCalGas. This cost-effective strategy gives the team enormous flexibility in their training and is an effective way to build a common language for change across teams.
The training group led by Chargualaf has delivered the following programs to front-line employees, people managers, project managers and others:
• Taking Charge of Change
• Leading Your Team Through Change
• Delivering Project Results Workshop
• Thriving in Change
To date, 797 individuals have received some form of change management training at SoCalGas, with 229 of them becoming Prosci Certified Change Practitioners who can directly impact project success. The change management training continues.
The ECM team has taken great strides to form a strategic partnership with the Project Management Transformation Office, which is critical to the successful implementation of enterprise-wide changes. The two teams have developed a process for working together to assess project needs, set priorities, and optimize their change management capabilities.
The Transformation Office engages the ECM team on medium- and high-risk projects that impact multiple departments, processes and systems.
Additional components to building change capability at SoCalGas include a Change Management Community of Practice. The community brings together certified change practitioners and guest speakers to share best practices and lessons learned, collaborate, and develop solutions for their change management challenges.
A Change Governance Organization also meets monthly and is attended by change managers and project managers. Their primary purpose is to create enterprise-wide awareness about major initiatives and identify potential change collision and fatigue. This information also provides the ECM team with a portfolio view of change initiatives.
Chargualaf, who has 37 years of experience in organizational change management and setting up Change Management Offices, offers the following recommendations to other change management teams building organizational change capability and applying change management on critical projects:
• Craft a compelling case for building change capability
• Attend the Prosci ECM Boot Camp
• Leverage the Prosci ECM Roadmap to drive critical decisions and guide plans across phases of your ECM journey
• Apply change management to your ECM initiative
• Assess current state and define future state to create anchors
• Use the Prosci Change Management Maturity Model Audit to support your current, transition and future state of ECM
• Access expert resources and research to inform your development and decisions
SoCalGas has made great progress in building change capability founded on the Prosci Methodology. Measuring the team’s progress is important to successfully move it forward. Early on, the team used the Prosci Change Management Maturity Model Audit to gauge the organization’s current maturity level.
The team conducts audits annually to assess progress and plan next steps in building capability for the following year.
More importantly, the organization’s change management capabilities have impacted project results. The ECM team has played a pivotal role in elevating project outcomes, as evidenced in the following examples of successful, high-impact initiatives.
Safety Forward is a companywide commitment to advance the organization’s approach to safety and culture. The goal is cultural transformation. The complex Safety Forward initiative involves ingraining a comprehensive understanding of safety into the organization’s processes, procedures, mindset and practices.
Change Management engaged with the project team early and worked from a Change Management Strategic Playbook that included communication, end-user engagement, training, resistance management, and other activities. Prosci tools such as the Prosci Change Triangle Assessment and Risk Assessment helped guide their Change Management Plan.
Through these and many other change management strategies and activities, the ECM team is playing a vital role in helping to promote the physical and psychological safety of employees and contractors, both onsite and in the field, as well as the safety of the public and the company’s infrastructure.
As a utility company, SoCalGas uses a wide variety of equipment such as gas pipelines. Tracking and managing the materials from manufacture through procurement to implementing them in the field is an enormous task. The mission of the Material Data Governance/Material Traceability project is to bring greater consistency and automation around material traceability, quality inspections, and inventory management.
The effort prepared employees in numerous departments across the company for adoption of the Material Data Governance/Material Traceability processes. Thanks in part to the work of the ECM team, project outcomes have been impressive with:
A team that began several years ago with two people now has 17 change management experts. The group has achieved many of its ECM Strategy Roadmap initiatives, and more are underway.
For instance, they are helping to develop change as a leadership competency and building a partnership with the company’s Clean Energy Innovations organization. They also plan to align change resources inside business units, and they will continue to host regular Community of Practice events. Lastly, they will monitor effectiveness—both in terms of project outcomes, as well as the organization’s change maturity progress.
“The value of change management is clear to key stakeholders across the organization,” says Orr. “Our plan is to keep the momentum going by continuing to grow our capability with Prosci, and by deepening the trust that comes from delivering excellent results.”