Some of the key tasks of leadership are being able to set an inspiring vision, motivate people to progress on goals and creating the right environments for team members to grow and develop beyond what they would have done alone. All of these processes include a healthy dose of change. Change can be a difficult journey for individuals and teams, which is why leadership is inherently tied to the skills of effective change management.
WHAT IS CHANGE MANANGEMENT?
If you look up change management on a reputable consultancy or business site you may find a definition like this:
Change Management – a term for any process which takes a systematic approach to dealing with a transition or transformation of goals, processes or technologies. This includes the preparation, support and reinforcement of change for individuals, teams and whole organisations.
Change management is as simple as helping other people to do things differently or to be different. This is very important because if you want to create a movement, enact a vision or be innovate it is vital that the people involved are on board. Merely changing the team’s mission statement or software systems will not lead to change in itself because…
“Organisations do not change, people do.”
TYPES OF CHANGE MANAGEMENT
The definition above gives a lot of different options to play with, which is why change management is often sorted into two broad categories which have a slightly different focus:
Organisational change management is concerned more with the resources, structures, goals and processes of the organisation as a whole. This can be seen as more of a ‘management’ style change. This may include things such as:
- Investing in new IT software or hardware for people to use
- Relocating to a new site
- Creating of new performance management proformas
Individual change management focuses on the human aspects of making changes. This recognises that whilst we are resilient and adaptable, there are psychological needs and processes involved in experiencing change. Even when change management is primarily organisational, there will likely be an individual element. For example:
- Upskilling individuals to be able to use the new IT software / hardware
- Managing people’s change in routine and resource needs as they relocate to a new site
- Helping staff to see the benefits of a change to the performance management proformas
Effective leaders combine both aspects of effective change management – recognising that organisational changes will have an impact on all individuals and that they need to feel supported in order to embrace and adapt to the change.
WHAT IS THE ADKAR MODEL?
Jeff Hiatt developed the ADKAR model to help leaders understand key phases involved in supporting individual change management. It recognises that people need to complete a phase of ADKAR in order to move to the next one and make a successful and lasting change.
Each letter of ADKAR stands for:
- Awareness of the need for change – acknowledgement that a new way of being would lead to an improved situation.
- Desire to participate in change and support it – individual motivation to do things differently. This needs to be strong enough to outweigh the effort of learning to change.
- Knowledge of how to change – knowing the theory, tools and process.
- Ability to change – having the skills and capacity to do things differently.
- Reinforcement of the change – rewards or celebration to ensure that the change is sustainable and to prevent relapse into old ways of being.
USING THE ADKAR MODEL TO SUPPORT CHANGE MANAGEMENT
Rather than providing specific instructions or tips for leaders, ADKAR gives a broad overview which invites further reflection and thinking. Here are some tips we can draw from the ADKAR model to support change management.
Awareness of the need for change
- Give team members platforms to share their goals and challenges as this may lead to them creating ideas about changes they need.
- The organisational leaders must clearly communicate the vision in order to show why change is needed and how the change supports the vision.
- Bring together team members from diverse backgrounds and experiences in order to build appreciation of multiple perspectives. We often need to be exposed to difference to appreciate a need to do things differently.
- Conduct adequate and clearly presented research which shows the need for change.
Desire to participate in change and support it
- DO NOT simply impose change on teams – this often results in resentment and resistance.
- Use team consultations, coaching or conversations to discuss people’s opinions of proposed changes.
- Ensure that you highlight the practical and emotional benefits of any proposed changes in order to support buy in.
- Discuss with team members what their concerns and needs are in order to make a change – and make commitments to support them.
- If appropriate, consider offering incentives or recompense for changes which will be time / research heavy for people.
- Find change champions and ambassadors who can be your ‘early adopters’ of change in order to normalise it and reduce fear.
Knowledge of how to change
- Consult with team members in order to assess their knowledge about the new ways of being.
- Provide appropriate resources, guides and theory for people to follow.
- For longer changes, this may include a roadmap of different phases of the change and how they relate to the vision.
- Provide time within people’s work schedules for study / knowledge acquisition.
Ability to change
- Consult with team members in order to assess their skills capacity for working or behaving in a new way.
- Provide appropriate practical training, shadowing, mentoring or coaching for people to develop their abilities.
- Provide time within people’s work schedules for training and skills practice.
Reinforcement of the change
Throughout the whole process:
- Thank people for their resilience and dedication.
- Celebrate progress towards making change. Many people only celebrate outcomes (the end result) which can take a long time to come to fruition. Progress is ongoing and incremental and will be more motivating for people.
- Continue to communicate the benefits of making the change to maintain motivation.
- Continually consult with team members to identify wins and challenges and respond accordingly.
At the end of the change process:
- Conduct research on the impact of the change in order to emphasise the benefits (or, if the change was ineffective to be able to justify a different change or going back to the old way of being!)
- Consider an event, occasion or thank you for the team.
- Communicate the positive change to other stakeholders for more accountability.
SUPPORT WITH YOUR CHANGE MANAGEMENT
As you can hopefully see from the ADKAR model, there’s no one way to do change management. Although the phases provide a guiding process, the individual steps will depend on the change you are trying to make, the mood and skills of your team and a whole other host of variables. This can make change management feel like a daunting task for leaders to face alone.
If you are looking for support with your change management process then The Self Leadership Initiative can help by providing:
- Coaching for leaders in order to clarify goals, explore challenges and create action plans
- Facilitating consultations / brainstorming sessions for buy in or needs audits
- Providing training in a range of professional and interpersonal skills
- Individual or team coaching to help staff manage the psychological aspects of change.
Get in touch today to discuss your needs.
Hiatt, J. M. & Creasey, T. J. (2003). Change management: The people side of change. Prosci.
Hiatt, J. M. (2006). ADKAR: a model for change in business, government and our community. Prosci Learning Center.