Seven Greatest Contributors to Change Management Success

Article excerpt

Organizational change practitioners facilitate many different types of transformations, including process change, technology change, people change, whole systems change and organizational transformation.

The field of change management uses a broad range of methods, models and approaches. Yet, through this research piece you will find that change practitioners have identified a set of best practices that consistently drive successful change, no matter what type.

In the Research Corner, Prosci shares the top seven reasons for change management success on projects, which comes from their 2014 issue of Best Practices in Change Management. Use this research as a benchmark to enhance your understanding of change management best practices.

We found Prosci's research useful to reinforce what you may intuitively know, but now have the research to support. It explains what makes change management successful and shares numerous supporting points, such as effective training methods, employee engagement and participation, as well as the most common mistakes in change management.

There were several insights that caught our attention. The first is the increase in the use of a methodology. Rather than attempting to identify which model or method is best, the research suggests that it is imperative to have a process and to use it consistently. The increase in the use of a methodology indicates that the practice of change management is maturing. There is a recognition of the correlation between a consistent process and project success.

Change sponsorship is another critical topic coming from the research. We are in passionate agreement about the strategic importance of a great sponsor. However, competence and commitment are two aspects of great sponsorship that must be considered when evaluating a sponsor. Commitment comes from faith in the transformation and the boldness that goes with it. Competence involves expertise in the actions that are clearly presented by this research. The choice of a sponsor who will lead a change project is no small choice: We advise selecting a leader who possesses both commitment and competence.

Best practices do not guarantee project success, but they definitely increase the likelihood of achieving the needed business results from any change. You can leverage the research as a checklist to assess your current change projects or a guide to increase your effectiveness on future projects by applying the insights from this benchmark study.

When changes impact how employees do their jobs, the speed and level of adoption and usage directly impact the benefit realization and value creation of the change. This is the essence of change management.

Since 1998, Prosci has conducted eight benchmarking studies with change practitioners to identify lessons learned, best practices, tips and suggestions for managing the people side of change. Over 3400 practitioners have shared their insights and experiences to build one of the largest bodies of knowledge on change management. In each study, intentional survey design has enabled the broadening and deepening of knowledge related to the discipline.

This excerpt focuses on the findings from a particular, overarching question: What has been the single greatest contributor to the success of your change management program? This question has been asked in each of Prosci's eight benchmarking studies, and over the last four studies a stable group of contributors has emerged.

This article explores the top seven contributors to success identified by the 822 participants from 63 countries in Prosci's 2013 study, and adds depth with related findings from additional sections of the 2014 edition of Prosci's Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking report. Although only a small sample, this excerpt provides HR leaders with a solid foundation for creating meaningful and sustained change in their organization. …