5 steps to overcome your change barriers w/Tim Creasey

Prosci bi-weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in change management.

Hosted by Morten Kamp Anderse

Every change is an individual journey. We say that organisations and society do not change; people change. How fast you move and where you are stuck is individual. Maybe you know what to do, but not why? Or you want to do something, but you don’t know how to? In this episode, you will learn how to break your change journey into bites to manage your change journey.

The ADKAR Model is an excellent change model. Simple and powerful. It helps you break down your change journey into five simple elements; Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. I have invited the Chief Innovation Officer at Prosci, Tim Creasey, to tell us all about the five elements and how we can use each of them when going through a change. And yes, Tim will give you plenty of tips and tricks.


  • What the five letters stand for and how you can use the tool.
  • Why knowledge isn’t everything. The important first step to successful change is to create awareness about why the change is happening.
  • What questions you can ask yourself to diagnose the barriers that keep you from successful change.
  • That it is important to start from the top. Leaders should model the change.
Once we identify where we are being held up, we can help move it forward.
Tim Creasey / CIO, Prosci


Here are my key takeaways from the podcast. But there are more goodies in the episode itself, so hopefully, you will go listen to it. 

#1 Identify the barriers of your change 
The ADKAR model is a simple, yet powerful tool to diagnose the choke point of a change. You may not understand why the change is happening. You may not personally support it. Maybe you are experiencing some kind of a physical or psychological barrier to the change. The ADKAR model will help you break down the change into small and manageable pieces, so it is easier to identify the actual problem.

#2 Leaders have to walk the talk
Change is a given in today’s business world. We ask employees to change all the time. But to change effectively, the senior leaders must be the face and voice of the change. They have to walk the talk.

#3 First things first; Communicate the need for change
Tim calls it to ‘start at the start’. We tend to jump straight to knowledge about the change, rather than why the change is happening. We forget to address the basic questions; Why? Why now? What if we don’t? Employees are more likely to support the change if they understand why it is happening and how it benefits them personally.



I love feedback. If you liked what you’ve heard, please leave a review or comment. Whatever you have on your mind, I want to hear it.
If you want to know more about change and how to make a change stick, you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google or Stitcher or read more on our website: www.nexum.eu


EP4 - Tim Creasey

Mon, 8/31 5:04AM • 45:30

people, organization, change, awareness, model, employees, individual, happening, desire, knowledge, understand, managers, outcomes, journey, ability, management, step, resistance, project, workplace

Morten Andersen, Tim Creasey

Morten Andersen  00:05
Hello, and welcome to What Monkeys Do. My name is Morten Kamp Andersen. And this is a podcast about what it takes to make a change and make it stick.

Morten Andersen  00:21
In What Monkeys Do, we explore what it takes to make a change. And today we will look at the ADKAR model as a way to diagnose and facilitate individual change. I have two types of friends. And the best way and time to recognize which type they are is on New Year's Eve. They'll come to me and explain what they want to do in the coming year. Maybe they want to quit something, maybe smoking for instance, or something they want to do, get a promotion, climb a mountain, whatever. Some of my friends are listened patiently knowing that come January 15, They will have given up on it again. But I also have Another set of friends, and they will also come up to me on New Year's Eve, and tell me about their plans. But with them, I just know that they will do it. Some succeed with their plans and their changes, and some fail. But it's not just people, it's also organizations. When I made a living of analyzing companies, we in the investment community would be invited to analyst days at companies and I would have the same feeling. Some CEOs would talk about their plans and their strategies. And we would just sit back and think you will never achieve that. But with other companies, we would have the same talk, they would talk about the same plans, the same strategies. And we would think, I don't know how you'll pull that off, but I just know you will. It's interesting how some people and some organizations fail with their changes, and others succeed. Our guest today is an expert in analyzing changes and finding patterns in those whose succeed, and then those who fail and use that knowledge to help facilitate individual change in the workplace. He is the Chief Innovation Officer Prosci, the leading research organization in change management. He's the co author of the very popular change management, The People Side of Change book, which is also one of my favorite change management books at all. Welcome to you, Tim Creasey.

Tim Creasey  02:24
Thank you, Morten. Thanks for having me.

Morten Andersen  02:27
Yeah, of course. I want to jump right into it. What do you think is the difference between those two groups of friends that I have? Why is it that some people succeed with a individual change and others fail?

Tim Creasey  02:39
Yeah, Morten, I think we all have those two kinds of friends and even recognize those two friends inside of us sometimes. Change is hard. It's counter to how we're wired. You know, we are physically and psychologically wired to stay the course and change is uncomfortable, but it is possible and your friends demonstrate that To us and those who can unlock the challenges of change by really breaking it down into accessible bites, the accessible components that together help us succeed in the change journey. Those are the ones that are going to succeed. And some people know it, and they just kind of do it naturally. Others can learn it. But when we break the challenge of change down into bite sized pieces, we can move change forward.

Morten Andersen  03:24
Okay, so it's something about breaking it down to to some bite sized things. And also, it's about actually something everybody can learn. That's what I heard you say, does that apply to organizations as well? I mean, what are the similarities and differences between the organizational change and individual change?

Yeah, very good. There are certain similarities and differences, but they're certainly interconnected. I think that's where it starts. That organizational change ultimately culminates through individual change. Whether it's 100 people 1000 people 10,000 people successful change in an order ization is the cumulative effect of individuals succeeding in their own personal change journeys. Now, the organization creates sort of the backdrop and context in which that individual journey takes place. And so we need to account for it and incorporate it. And the organization can learn approaches and tactics and techniques to better prepare and support their people through those change journeys. So the organization facilitates the collective individual change that results in organizational outcomes.

Morten Andersen  04:30
Okay, so that's actually actually quite complex. So what you're saying is that we shouldn't look at data as an organization, we should look at it as a lot of individual people, and it is those people that needs to change, not the organization that needs to change.

Tim Creasey  04:43
Yeah, if an organization is made up of 100, people making widgets and we need to make those widgets differently. Each of those hundred people have a different way that they show up when the change is brought to life. And if we can help them succeed in that personal transition, organizational outcomes, and we can Get those new widgets.

Morten Andersen  05:01
And can you recognize that some organizations just for somehow have it in them to change on a more regular basis more consistently Well?, and others, for some reason, don't have that. Can you recognize that? And if that's the case, what why do you think that is?

Tim Creasey  05:19
Yeah, we describe that as organizational agility, that sort of tenacity or responsiveness resilience of the organization. And there are many moving parts that create the Agile organization, right, how we make decisions, how we interact, how we collaborate, what impedes us from working together. But in the end, our ability to help our people forward through our change efforts is one of those critical cogs of organizational agility. And whether you look at PMI's three pillars of the Agile organization or PricewaterhouseCoopers five pillars, or Accenture's nine pillars you will find and attention to how we support our people through change has one of those critical components of the the agile, the flexible, there is The durable organization.

Morten Andersen  06:02
Yes. And I suppose that leaders are very important in that so you can have something about how mature leaders are or what type of culture they have around their leadership and treating people as opposed that is a component as well.

Tim Creasey  06:17
Yeah, as an organization grows this muscle of change capability, we really start to see patterns and how changes happen in that organization. And you highlight one of the biggest patterns we see in over 20 years of research, we've identified that the top contributor to successful change is active and visible sponsorship, our senior leaders out being the face and voice of change. We also find a pattern around how we engage our people in those organizations that can move effectively. Whether it's through effective communication, people manager engagement, direct employee engagement, we engage our employees in a different way, when we start to grow, change muscle, and then finally intention around how we move our projects forward. We bring resources, Dedicated approaches to the discipline of change management, we integrate the technical and people sides of initiatives so that we're not just advancing the solution, but we're helping our people move forward as well. And yeah, mature organizations start to grow that muscle and in each initiative, they are thoughtful and intentional about how they support their people through that individual change journey.

Morten Andersen  07:21
Okay, so you mentioned change management, a number of times, what is change management? How do you define that?

Tim Creasey  07:29
Yeah, great question. Change management's the discipline we're in and I make the joke I've been with Prosci 19 and a half years, I've been with my partner the entire time, and she can almost describe what change management is. No knock on her because she's twice as smart as I am, at least. But if you're not in the discipline, it's sometimes hard to wrap your head around it. And so the way I describe change management is when we ask our people in our organization to show up in a new way, because of a new technology or a new process or a new mindset or a new policy. If we ask our people To show up in a new way, how do we thoughtfully and intentionally prepare equipment support them to be successful in adopting that new way of being so that the initiative delivers outcomes, and then the organization succeeds. It's about moving away from an email on Monday for training on Tuesday, for go live on Wednesday, yes, to actually helping our people make sense of and internalize and succeed in their own personal change journey.

Morten Andersen  08:27
Okay, obviously, you working a Prosci, one of the things that you do is you develop models and tools and ways to help change managers in organizations drive the change in their workplace. And one of the models you use is the ADKAR model. And that's really the one that I wanted to spend some time on here. And I will let you introduce it in a second. But before you do, I just want to say that I've been teaching, training, consulting for many, many years now. And I've come across a lot of different models and tools in my life, but I'd probably never come across a more sort of potent, easy to use powerful model as the ADKAR model it, it's in one hand, it really works and on the other hand is very simple and therefore everybody can use it. So I just want to say that I found that to be an incredibly powerful one. But can you explain a little bit about the background for the model, what the model is, how it works, what the acronym stands for, and so on. Can you let anybody else know what ADKAR is?

Is that fantastic the hear Morten, and a number of your listeners may know ADKAR and may not even know who Prosci is. Because we know that that individual change model has actually outpaced even Prosci in the market because it gives people a way to unlock the challenges of change. So I'll start by this defining and describing the model it is an individual change model. So it describes the building blocks of a successful individual change. Whether it is you know, stopping smoking, like you mentioned or starting climbing mountains or getting a child to clean up their room or figuring out how to use That new web based Productivity Suite to your organization just rolled out. Whenever we take on a change as an individual ADKAR describes those five building blocks. The first day is awareness, awareness of the need for change. It's when I have internalized why this change is happening. It's not just that I know that the change is happening, I have internalized why the change is happening, I have awareness of the need for change. That's the first step. After awareness comes desire, desire to participate in supporting the change, then that's a personal decision. So it's a tricky one inside of change inside of organizations. It's a tricky one for us as individuals, it takes a personal decision to step into the change, step out of how things are today and step into a moment of trying to tackle and make the change. It's when I personally would tell you I've decided to take on this change. That's what I have desire. The third building block is knowledge, knowledge on how to change now, knowledge is the unfortunate default reaction. It's where organizations tend to jump to. If we need our employees to take on a change, what do we do we send them to training. Now we all know what it feels like to get sent to a training and we have no idea why we're there. And we've not decided that we want to be there in the first place. We sit in the back of the room with our arms crossed on our chest thinking about what we're going to cook for dinner that night. So knowledge needs context, it has to come on the back of an awareness of the need for and the decision to but then I need to know what to do during and after the change. What do I need to know during and after and during and after is especially important in today's world, this hybrid world where the during and afters are happening forward and backward and ebbing and flowing. But that's a knowledge - knowing what I need to do. The next is ability. That's the second A, the ability to implement the required skills and behaviors. That's when the change has come to life. It's our demonstrated capability to show up in the new way to adhere to the new process, to use the new tool, to engage in the new system, to demonstrate the new mindset through our behaviors. To succeed in the new reporting structure, whatever the change is, ability is when I've brought it to life. And there are barriers, there are things that inhibit it and slow it down. And maybe it's physical barriers are psychological barriers are other things that are going on. But if I can understand the barriers, I can figure out how to get them over them. And then I have the ability I've demonstrated that I can make the change. And Prosci would not be what Prosci is if it was the ADKA model. If it was just ADKA without the R at the end process, I would have been a flop 25 years ago. Yes, the R at the end is reinforcement to sustain the change, again, because it's our natural, physiological, psychological tendency to go back to how things were. Yes, it takes less energy. It takes less commitment. It takes less consternation to go back to what we know and so if that's all tendency for a change to stick. We need reinforcements that are reinforcement to sustain the change and keep it in place. Yes. So that's kind of in a nutshell, the five building blocks. Now they are sequential but not linear. And what I mean by that is, I can go forward and backwards, you know, there are times where I might have the knowledge and ability, but I do not have the awareness that change is not going to move forward. So they don't spill over one after the other. But the first one that's insufficient for me to get movement is where the change is getting stuck and where we need to put our energy, whether it's me as an individual or me working with a team to adopt a new approach to product development.

Morten Andersen  13:51
So it ties in with a lot of things from psychology in terms of learning models. So for instance, one the springs to mind is that it's not Not enough to knowing things or doing things, you need to be living things. And so, you know, the knowing is the knowledge, the doing is the ability, but it's actually the reinforcement that continue to do things, the living it, that then it becomes real. And I think that emphasis on the R in the ADKAR model is actually a very important thing, because we tend to forget that one easily, right?

Tim Creasey  14:25
Yeah, absolutely. And I started to take ADKAR and think about them like coat hooks. Hmm. And then when I get exposed to some of these new technologies that help us understand human beings and the human change process, I think, which of those hooks Can I hang it under? And so something like the Power of Habit, Hmm, I can hang that under ability and reinforcement. So then now they come together, ADKAR as a platform helps me leverage my notion and understanding of habit into ability and reinforcement, neuroscience and a lot of the insights we're getting out of that space really around awareness and desire. Hmm, they were really help us get at the underpinning underlying barriers or obstacles or opportunities and awareness desire, the power of storytelling, I hang under the awareness, gamification as a way to better engage human beings is a way for us to better build knowledge and ability. And so ADKAR I think this gets to your notion of why it's simple, yet powerful is that awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, reinforcement, your listeners probably haven't memorized already. awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, reinforcement, but the deeper you get into the model, the more powerful it becomes in terms of helping us understand and make sense of, but then also move changes forward.

Morten Andersen  15:41
It's also interesting that it didn't stop at AD so I remember when I studied psychology A long time ago, the answer to most of the issues of change from psychology point of view was you just need to be motivated if you just had sufficient motivation now that could be through learning from their behaviourists talking about that you just needed to learn it subconsciously. But if you just were motivated enough, a change would happen. But we all know that if there is one thing that is instable in our lives, it's our motivation for something, we can easily fluctuate in motivation. So I suppose my own experiences that with myself, when I go through changes, obviously, the reinforcements of keep doing things is a problem for me. But actually, the desires of the early part of the ADKAR is also something that I often struggle with.

Tim Creasey  16:29
Yeah, absolutely. That personal decision is so critical. And it gets to the notion of how is the change aligned with where I want to go? And I'll tell you a funny quick story here. I usually use my golf game as an example between the difference about the difference between knowledge and ability, because I say if you want to see the difference between knowledge and ability, because some people say aren't that isn't that kind of the same thing. We said, No, no, go play one hole of golf with me. Because I have the knowledge of how to approach the ball. I have the knowledge about how far my feet are supposed to be apart. I know I'm supposed to keep my head down, I do not have the ability to keep my head down and off, up over in the rough every single time. And I had somebody pulled me aside and said, is that really your barrier, is ability really your barrier for golf? Hmm. And I looked at him in the eye and I said, You know what, I have a five and a seven year old son's at home. And when I get to my weekend, to give up four hours with them, to go out on the golf course, is not something I have the desire or motivation to do right now. And now, every once in a while, on a weekend, I have a very strong desire to get out of the house for four hours. And so desire motivation ebbs and flows. Yeah, and we can't solve change just through motivation, awareness and desire in the exact same way we can't solve and unlock the challenges of change only by providing knowledge and tools. Hmm. It is a journey the human being goes through to be able to say I understand why I've decided to, I know how to, I'm able to and I'll continue to In our job in the discipline of change management, our job as leaders of organizations, is to help our people navigate that internalization of the changes that are happening in and around and to them.

Morten Andersen  18:13
So the ADKAR model, there are five building blocks, ADKAR, and if you want to lead a person, or even go through yourself, and change successfully, you need to score high. If you if you score yourself on that code, then you need to score high on all elements to successfully change. I heard you say one time that one of the biggest reasons that people resist to a change in an organization is actually lack of awareness. And I'm not quite sure I really understand that because I get so many emails at work and I get so much information. Why is it that that you're saying that people don't have the awareness of change? Because they're bombarded with information? Right?

Tim Creasey  18:56
Yeah, great comments and observation Morten, and When I teach ADKAR on a stage at a conference, I'll actually do a interactive poll. And I'll ask people, which of the five building blocks is going to be the most challenging for change 65 to 75%, every single time say desire, that personal decision because it is free will and we can nudge it, but we can't make it happen. But you're exactly right that a couple of decades of research indicate that it's a lack of awareness, a lack of a compelling case for why the change is happening. And so Martin, I'm going to highlight a subtle but very important difference on awareness here. It's awareness of the need for a change, not awareness that the change is happening.

Morten Andersen  19:40

Tim Creasey  19:41
And a lot of times we notify that a change is happening, but we don't build the compelling case for why we don't answer the awareness questions. And we define we've defined three of them for years. Why? why now? And what if we don't? Hmm, that person to internalize awareness to take the next step they need to have internalized and under be able to answer back. Why? Why now? And what if we don't?Given today's COVID environment? I've added one more awareness question. Why this instead of that? because in the midst of this pandemic, when we are all mindshare, poor, time poor, deciding where we each expand our calories is the most important decision we can all make. Hmm. And so awareness of the need for change given the crowded change portfolio that most of our employees are living within both that's inside the walls of work, right. They're also dealing with what's going on in their lives as well. Hmm, why this instead of that is going to help us get to that point that you mentioned, where somebody would I have has sufficiently internalized why, I have the awareness. I'm ready to explore whether or not I can take the decision to get on board.

Morten Andersen  21:00
And I guess the information like that should come from my nearest manager. So I look at my nearest manager and say, why are we doing this and why we're doing this now. But he or she may not even know that. I mean, I guess that's one of the problems of why employees don't have that information about the or the awareness of the need for the changes that their managers don't know what the, the need for the changes.

Tim Creasey  21:22
Yeah, absolutely. And oftentimes, in the research, we find that these compelling organizational messages around why and what if we don't, we want to hear that from somebody at the top of the organization. And you're exactly right, that if we're doing this right, we help our managers build awareness of the need for change first, before we tap into them and ask them to be allies and to shepherd their direct reports through the change. Given the pace at which we're moving sometimes that's challenging and but I think that's one of the most critical steps to ensure that we have that ally ship with the people managers and organizations, because They become incredible voices for our employees about what does it mean to me? What does it mean to us? Should I really get behind this? Yeah, people, managers impact and support and influence the desire, whereas we tend to look to the top around awareness. Hmm. Yeah. So that's fascinating, Morten right. When you start to understand the outcomes of successful change in this journey, you start to get way more thoughtful and intentional about what is the messaging, who is engaging, how are we engaging? Because now we're not just communicating to communicate? We're communicating to build awareness of the need for change. We're not training to train. We're trying to build the three critical knowledge and four critical ability components of this change journey that we're helping our people through.

Morten Andersen  22:50
Yes, one of the things that we always told is that if you do a change, there will be resistance. And that resistance can be just because people need to think about this and then they'll move on. Sometimes it's because they don't like this change and the need to be helped to move on. I was just thinking in this covered environment that we're in right now, identifying where the resistance is and how that looks like it's even harder, I suppose. I mean, there must be much harder to drive through change. When people are working remotely yet, that's probably going to be an environment that most organizations will look like even in a year, two years from now. So how we do change management or how we do leadership will ultimately need to change as a reaction to that, I suppose.

Tim Creasey  23:34
Yeah, absolutely, Morten and Prosci, just introduced the first week of august Hybrid workplace operating system. Oh, because yeah, we are really watching this notion that organizations are saying we are not moving all of the work that's happening off premises. Now, back on premises, we're leaving some of it off premises, even post pandemic post vaccine. We are reimagining what the workplace is. Looks like and that ripples into leaders and managers and how they engage how they communicate. So I think you're exactly right that this really is going to start to ripple and this resistance identification. We actually did a research effort about a year ago, looking at a deep dive into managing resistance. And we actually created a whole section of the report called constructive resistance. Hmm. Because there is resistance that is a real thoughtful, meaningful objection to the decision or the direction or the solution, the technical side of the change, I might have an actual objection to and that's constructive resistance that's important for listen to and learn and identify and analyze incorporate. The other kind of resistance is when we are just not helping somebody through that change journey. Like we didn't tell them why we just told them it was coming. It didn't help them understand what it meant to them and their team to get on board. We didn't properly understand the knowledge gap or potential barriers they had that would inhibit them from adopting the change. And so ADKAR is fascinating because it gives us a measuring stick to understand and diagnose where a changes breaking down. Hmm. And I can check the box on all Yes, this person understands why they have decided to they have the knowledge to they demonstrated the capability. And they've actually expressed that they're going to continue to but they still have an objection to the solution. Now, I've identified constructive resistance that helps me move the change forward even better. So yeah, without a way to understand and name where the change is breaking down. We have a hard time making sense of not only how to help it forward, but also how to delineate constructive resistance from just a failure to help somebody forward through a journey their own.

Morten Andersen  25:56
Right, Tim, so I want to try to use a practical example just to see How we can use ADKAR In real life, as you know, as a result of the COVID-19, many companies have decided to change the way they're working right now they're forced to, but they may actually continue to do that. So instead of having a regular office with fixed seats, let's take this example company that they've decided to encourage people to work from home, have flexible seating at work, have many more meetings by Microsoft Teams or Zoom and generally change the way they work and collaborate. Now, let's say that they've created a project team to work on this, how would you suggest that they use the ADKAR model to facilitate the individual change journeys that they need to facilitate in order for this to happen?

Tim Creasey  26:49
Morten I think this is such a great example because what it does first is it helps us to understand the difference between a project challenge and the adoption challenge. So the project challenges is what you listed, not having a regular office with fixed seats, hot desking, getting comfortable in virtual meeting virtual engagements virtual conversations, putting in place the system of a hybrid organization is the technical the project challenge. The adoption challenges how do we help our people excel in this new environment? How do I help an employee excel as a remote contributor? How do I help an employee more nimbly shift their focus and their energy and their mindshare? If people are returning from a part back to together? How do I prepare them to confidently step back into the physical workspace? So we've got project challenges, which is often that it's either the condition or the technical solution. And then we have the adoption challenge, how we help our people show up differently. So the project challenges that hybrid operating system, what does culture engagement and collaboration and communication and employee experience. What do those all look like in a new hybrid workplace? But at the individual level, and this is where ADKAR comes to life? How do I help an individual migrate the change journey of let's take one example, effectively managing my work life home life while I'm working from home? that's the challenge. If we were to put our ADKAR glasses on and look at it, we would say awareness of the need to effectively manage home and work. Do I understand why do I understand why now? Do I understand what if I don't? And if there's anything stopping me, what do I need in place to be able to say I understand why. Hmm, and we will and desire have I decided to do I know what's in it for me? What's in it for the organization? What's in it for my family? Do I have that what's in it for me? Have I got to the point where I've said I've decided to? after that, what do I need to know to be able to effectively manage My work at home life what I need to know now what do I need to know after? And what's stopping me? And how might I overcome that? Then we get to ability? What is it that might be holding me back from saying I'm able to effectively manage my home life and work life? And how might I overcome a barrier once I identify it? And then finally, reinforcement? What's stopping me? And how can I continue to stick with this change? what I just described for you is what we call the ADKAR canvas. Hmm, the ability to take an individual adoption challenge, and then pull it apart into what's driving each of the ADKAR elements and what's holding back each of the ADKAR elements, not only at the personal level, what do I need to say I understand why what's stopping me from saying I understand why, but we can also flip it into the organizational setting. For this change, what are the biggest obstacles we anticipate for building awareness of the need for change? And how might we overcome those obstacles so We're taking very much a sort of Kurt Lewin forcefield analysis view of each of the ADKAR elements. And I think the powerful thing is that lets us one not only make sense of it, translating it from this organizational change into the adoption challenge, but very quickly, we can start to see how we can apply it outside of just the work context. I can apply that same thinking to a web based Productivity Suite, but I can also apply it to how do I help my family come together around dinner time? Hmm, how can I help our family Think about what this upcoming long weekend might look like? How do I get more engaged with a community organization and help a party or of the community that I want to help that's successful change - breaking it down into those bite sized pieces, awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, reinforcement, and then unpacking what stopped me from and how do I step forward through this change journey that I want to take?

Morten Andersen  30:57
And how do you gage where people are. So you were just mentioning family. And I was just thinking that if I had to gage where my kids, if I just asked them on a particular thing, they would sometimes always say, yeah, yeah, whatever. I don't really know whether they mean it or whether they're just saying yes, just so I will stop asking them again. And I guess it's the same thing with employees in many ways that they might say that, yes, I'm on board. I think it's a great idea, but they may actually secretly mean something else. So how do you gauge where people are? So you know, whether you are on track, or does  ADKAR help you with that?

Tim Creasey  31:37
Yeah, because ADKAR describes those building blocks of successful change. We can also use it to measure and understand where a change might be moving forward or getting impeded. I think the first way we can use ADKAR as that measuring stick is through those 'I' statements. Realize that ADKAR is an individual personal model, and so there's not an arm cuff I could put on your arm Morten To see if you had desire, but I could ask you questions and listen to the questions you ask to try to ascertain, has he gotten to the point where he would say, I Morten have decided to, in some organizations that have really socialized the language of ADKAR? They'll actually go right to the, what's your level of commitment? How would you answer each of these statements? Hmm, I understand why I've decided to I know how to, I am able to, and I will continue to. So I think that's one approach. The other thing we do Morten is we teach ADKAR throughout the entire organization. because it's one thing for a practitioner to be sitting in the control room of the change management approach wielding ADKAR it's a different thing when we empower each frontline people manager to engage their team, their direct reports with ADKAR. And they might do it directly, like call it out as ADKAR or they might just call an employee into the office that's struggling through a change, or maybe call them up on a zoom meeting and say You know, let's talk about this change. Can you explain to me why you think it's happening? Like, explain to me why you think. And that employee might either give an exact answer to why the organization is, or they might say something like it's a pet project of that one leader. And so the people manager with ADKAR, the frame can start asking the kind of questions that would help them understand how to help that, that teammate through the change journey they're experiencing.

Morten Andersen  33:36
As it's actually interesting, you said in the beginning that ADKAR may even be more popular than Prosci and I've been in organizations where I've talked about change management, and they're saying, Yeah, well, we're doing ADKAR. And what they really mean is that they're doing change management, but they're using the ADKAR language. And again, what I like about it a lot is that it is something that is not jargon only sitting in the project team. They know what it means. But actually you can hear manager saying, Well, I have a problem with desire in my team or I think I need to build some ability in my team. I don't think we've got the reinforcement, right on track yet. So it's actually something that is easy to talk about. And I guess what you're saying is that it's actually also relatively easy to measure about where people are in the ADKAR model as well. It was that what you said?

Tim Creasey  34:25
Yeah, I think you're exactly right. That it gives that common language common frame right? It's and I think the notion simple yet powerful, is the phrase we use because you're right, it becomes so accessible. When we have clients that will talk they'll begin using it as a verb. Did we ADKARA that group did we ADKAR that group and I think you're right what they are using ADKAR as a proxy to mean, have we thought through how to prepare, equip and support those individuals through their own change journeys, so that the initiative captures the people dependent value Not the technical dependent value, but the people dependent value. And so I actually see organizations start to use adkar as a label of being thoughtful and intentional about how we support our people through change. At the same time, like you mentioned, it's that simple, yet powerful tool. So whether it's ADKAR in the back of a napkin, we have people managers that will just do fist fives, right, hold up fingers, one finger means I don't buy into this five means I could tell you exactly why we're doing this. People manager starting integrated into that conversation, people start to it becomes the frame, we use the conceptual container for advancing through any change journey. And when we get it embedded at that level, we can start to measure and understand how we're helping our people move in, you know,

Morten Andersen  35:46
do we have any data on the more organizations do change management, the more they succeed with, you know, some of the changes do we know anything Whether this actually works?

Tim Creasey  35:59
Yeah, great question. We have, you know, 20 years in about 4000 data points. The interesting thing is we see the relationship on two different levels. First of all doing change management intentionally on a project or on an initiative, what's the impact there? Again, 4000 data points, we see a six fold increase in likelihood of delivering objectives on a project, when we prepare equipment support our people through that project, and we are more likely to finish on time and on budget. So initiatives and there's a huge data set that tells us the better we prepare equipment support our people, the more likely we are to achieve outcomes on time and on budget. There's another set of data that came out of the Prosci research where we look at organizational maturity and overall portfolio success rate. So the overall organization's maturity and change management compared to the overall success rate of the entire portfolio, and again, we see a direct correlation that this Muscle, this capability when it's both applied on initiatives, and it comes to life through how our managers and leaders show up, it drives more successful change portfolios. And so correlations are there direct, right in the data. We've all seen it and felt it What happened, help our people through change. But we're finding it even more abundantly in the project metrics and the success data that this is meaningful work. Yes, it's meaningful work because it drives project outcomes. It's meaningful work because it drives organizational outcomes. But I think most importantly, it's meaningful work. Because the right way to treat our people, when we ask them to take on a change is to set them up for success. And again, whether that is a new technology application or a whole new mindset, when we prepare, equip and support our people through the change journeys, they experience, the initiative delivers outcomes, the organization delivers better outcomes, and I think in the end it ripples because when I feel prepared and equipped And supported for something that's happening to me in work, I show up differently outside of work as well. So this, this is meaningful work. There's so much data and research and structure and intent and rigor behind it. But in the end, to me, this is about bringing humanity back into the walls of the workplace. Yes, by taking care of our people in times of change so that everybody wins.

Morten Andersen  38:22
It was interesting that you mentioned Kurt Lewin now. He was big in 1940s. That's very old knowledge that we have there. But it's also fundamental psychological knowledge. It's about what is it that drives human beings? And I guess when we make changes in the workplace, it is a lot about psychology. And there's a lot about understanding how do we how are we wired as humans, how do we react as humans because that literally hasn't changed very much. Even though it is digitalization now, which is the big thing, rather than maybe moving in moving away from from the production lines in the 40s

Tim Creasey  38:59
Yeah, you're spot on that we are living in a time like no other in terms of the amount of change we're experiencing. The notion that it's both the most individual and collective change we've ever experienced, because it is so individual and how it impacts me. But it's also across the globe, there are similar experiences in terms of the response to the pandemic. So, yeah, we're setting it this fascinating time in terms of the amount of change that's going on all around us. huge opportunity for us to step in and say, You know what, organizational outcomes project outcomes are all better off if we help our people have more successful outcomes in that personal change journey they're on. So

Tim Creasey  39:40

Tim Creasey  39:41
it's meaningful work. And it yields fantastic outcomes.

Morten Andersen  39:45
So that the ADKAR model is an individual change model. It can be used to help a change in your family, but it can also help at a workplace. Finally, if you should give our listeners three good advice. To begin, use the ADKAR Model as a way to facilitate a change either at the workplace or just for themselves at home, what would they be?

Tim Creasey  40:06
Very good. So my three bits of advice here and I've got them as kind of fun turns of phrase for you. The very first one is Name it to Tame it, name it to tame it. We have so much going on in and around our lives right now. And the better we can identify and understand and spot where a change is struggling and holding up whether it's a change we are trying to take on personally or a change we're trying to elicit and support with others and name it to tame it. Once we identify where we are being held up, we can help move it forward and ADKAR now gives us a way to actually break change down into those bite sized pieces. My second bit of advice here is Start At The Start. It's so easy to jump right to adoption metrics. It's so easy to jump right to building training materials. It's so easy to put the pizza party on the calendar for when the program is over. But change always starts at the start. And ADKAR tells us that the start is awareness of the need for change. Hmm, why why now? What if we don't. And as I mentioned, why this instead of that, we can move the needle significantly in organizations by starting at the start and focusing on building sufficient awareness, the compelling case for stepping into these many changes setting in front of us. And my third turn of phrase for you is going to be this Progress Over Perfection. I've been using this for many years, but I think right now, it's probably more meaningful than ever. And it's probably the case with a lot of your listeners, Morten. We got a bit of perfectionist in us, just kind of the way we're wired. But we're stepping into an a situation where not only the demand but also the opportunity to have real meaningful impact by giving ourselves a little bit of a break. by realizing that it doesn't have to be perfect carved in stone to help an individual take a step forward. Hmm, I'll give you a bonus here. Here's my last one. I think I'm going to get this made into a T shirt. I've joked that I'm about to quit Prosci and start a T-shirt company to make this one T-shirt. And then people tell me, you can just get the T-shirt made. You don't have to quit, bro. sigh So, so I'm not going to quit, bro. sigh but the T-shirt says this, Everything In Moderation Except Grace and gratitude. Hmm, everything in moderation, but grace and gratitude, over indulge and grace and gratitude right now. because change is hard. It's happening all around us for all different kinds of reasons. And with those around us, but also especially with ourselves, if we can step into this time, embracing grace and expressing gratitude. I think we're putting ourselves in a place to bring positive change into the world.

Morten Andersen  42:53
Fantastic. Tim, thank you very much for your time. Thank you very much for your insights into the ADKAR model. It was a real pleasure. Just speaking with you.

Tim Creasey  43:01
Oh, I so appreciate the time Morton and yeah, hopefully there's a couple nuggets in there that people will help to drive more positive change around them. Okay, thank you.

Morten Andersen  43:16
Tim has worked for 20 years finding patterns and change patterns which tell us what works and what doesn't work with individual change in organizations. He said that his focus was on individuals because he believes that if people change organizations change, I took three things from the interview. One, identify where a change is stuck so you can manage it. There are many different reasons why people are stuck in a change. They may not understand it, they may resist it. They may think the timing is bad, they may not be able to do it. The ADKAR model is simple, easy to use, yet powerful way to diagnose and manage individual Change journeys that could be yours. Or it could be somebody else's, two the top contributor to successful change in an organization is active and visible sponsorship. organizations make so many changes and often at the same time, essentially they ask individual employees to change all the time. And that's part of doing business today. But if we want to do it, well, we must have senior leaders out there being the face and voice of change. Three, the most important thing to do first is to communicate the need for the change. Tim called it started the start, we must first focus on awareness of the need for the change. We send so many emails but we often forget to address the piece of question, why, why now what if we don't do it? If we can be clear and communicate this in their language, employees are willing to change So, thanks to Tim for a great conversation and for his insights. If you liked the interview and you want to hear more, please press the subscribe button. Also, if you did like the interview, I will appreciate if you will give the podcast a five star feedback. It really does help our reach until next time, take care

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