Compare your Change Initiatives to Best Practices

04 January 2023

Let's understand why comparing your change initiative, release or project, to industry Best Practices regularly throughout the life-cycle, can help to improve the likelihood of the success of that change.

Article written by Michael Campbell

Let's understand why comparing your change initiative, release or project, to industry Best Practices regularly throughout the life-cycle, can help to improve the likelihood of the success of that change.

"Best Practices". If the objective of effective change management is to ultimately improve the amount of usage and proficient adoption of the the new capabilities in a change project, then surely it makes sense to learn from others if there are specific areas to focus on.  Better, more effective change management delivers better results. Through its research of more than 6,300 projects conducted globally over the last 20 years Prosci has accumulated and documented a wealth of Change Management Best Practices.

From its analysis of all this change project data Prosci has identified 7 key contributors to change success and has broken down and documented the best practice actions behind each. Regular comparison of your project's alignment or lack of alignment with each of these 7 drivers will accelerate your ability to deliver successful outcomes and organisational results and benefits from your change:

1. Sponsorship - active and visible senior executive leadership and sponsorship of a change has been the number 1 contributor to change success in all 10 of Prosci's research studies. Sponsorship of change is different from and often wrongly equated with the actions most leaders make when sponsoring a project. Great project sponsors are often unaware of how they need to act differently to effectively sponsor and lead a change.

2. Approach - deploying a structured change management methodology, using a comprehensive toolkit, with consistency across all changes, helps build our organisation's "muscle memory" for change success. A consistent approach delivered excellently increases the chance of change project success 6x.

3. Resources - Change management requires additional work. Preparing, equipping and supporting impacted staff through change takes focused time and effort and this requires the right amount of dedicated change management resources; people and money.

4.  Middle Manager Engagement - as a result of the level of trust they enjoy from all corners of the organisation line/middle managers have a critical series of roles in leading successful change in an organisation. Failure to engage Managers early, often and collaboratively in the project life-cycle, and to align their goals with the change project's goals, are just 2 strong predictors of failure.

5. Communication - frequent and effective 2-way communication, especially about the reasons why a change is required, why now and the consequences of not changing, by the people who are listened to in the organisation is a vital component of change success.

6. Integration of Change Management with Project Management - as organisations strive to extract more value and benefit from their continuing investment in new capabilities and the pace and volume of change inexorably increases, the degree to which tools, organisation and people in both of these disciplines are combined effectively and efficiently has emerged as a best practice of the most successful organisations. 

7. Employee Engagement - with the purpose of change management focused on improved front-line employee adoption and usage of new capabilities, the effectiveness of how we engage with our employees as they are confronted by a myriad of fast moving changes is critical.

Evaluate your Change Management Effectiveness  

The good news here is that the relative and cumulative strength of all of these 7 key contributors to change success can be assessed through a structured consultation process with the key stakeholders impacted by a change.

The status on each, for your change project, is then compared with the Best Practice measures and from that a focused plan of improvement can be put in place for any deficient areas.

This helps an organisation to ensure that it is not repeating the mistakes of others when driving outcomes and results on a specific change project or release but is instead building its muscle memory for effective and successful change in the most efficient ways.

To help you evaluate the effectiveness of your change management effort on your project, Prosci has created a cloud-based tool that compares your project to these 7 key Best Practice contributors to success - a concise, purposeful assessment contained in a cloud-based tool in your Prosci Portal - called the eBest Practices Audit.

Best completed in discussion prior to/at a review meeting by a group of impacted stakeholders on your project in 20-30 minutes, results can be viewed overall and by individual success contributor.  Alert factors are highlighted and progress over time can be viewed graphically.

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