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Change Management and Its Different Stages

written by: Jean Scheid • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 5/15/2013

Change management practices must include both organizational and individual change, especially when considering Prosci's Change Management Methodology. What are the different stages of change management and how do you deal with implementing each phase? Jean Scheid takes a look.

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    Individual and Organizational Stages

    The Key to Change by Miss Stake According to Prosci’s Change Management Methodology, “Organizations don’t change but individuals do." Individual change is the key to organizational change through proper initiation, following processes, and providing individuals with tools to implement change. Prosci, for the uninitiated, is an independent research company formed in 1994 that focuses on change management techniques.

    The Prosci ADKAR model of change management deals with individual change.

    • Awareness
    • Desire
    • Knowledge
    • Ability
    • Reinforcement

    In addition to the ADKAR stages for individual change, project managers must also consider how to implement phases that complement the ADKAR model. For example, our organizational change may have three stages:

    • Preparation
    • Management
    • Sustainability

    Before the different stages of organizational change management occur, as a project manager, how do you implement individual change, especially if there is anticipation or adversity to change?

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    Stages For Individual Change

    Using the ADKAR model for changing individuals, teams, or team members, one might look at the model as having the following stages:

    • Awareness – Every individual involved in the change must be aware of it at this initial stage, even if they don’t agree with the change. A “change is coming" environment atmosphere can often be a stopping block and bring change resistance if other stages are not completed in order.
    • Desire – Every individual must be convinced that the change is desirable and beneficial.
    • Knowledge – Individuals must be informed on the need for the change and understand it.
    • Ability – Each person must also be given the ability to change. This may include change in processes, tools, education, or training. If the ability is not there, individual change will fail.
    • Reinforcement – This stage allows for individual input along with analyzing and discussing the change. The entire individual unit is reinforced and acknowledged by management that change can succeed on a sustainable basis.

    Now that individuals are ready to accept a change, have knowledge of the change, and the tools and management support of the change, what are the next steps to implement individual change into organizational change?

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    Stages For Organizational Change

    Change by Flightless XBird Now that you have a happy and accepting people-change environment, the next phase of change management to consider is your actual change management plan.

    • Preparation – This stage includes compiling your change management plan with strategies such as assigning roles and responsibilities and assessing tools and tasks needed to implement your plan.
    • Management – The management stage of your plan requires overseeing assigned roles and tasks, provide training and coaching, and a clear communication plan.
    • Sustainability – The final stage of organizational change management is to assess action plans, review for sustainability, and acknowledge individual and team success.
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    Why Stages Are Necessary

    While people may be resistant or fear change of structure, working environment, or method changes, good and structured change management phases must be followed. Research by the Change Management Learning Center studied indiviudals who initially resisted change at project initiation. Of those studied, 40 percent initially resisted change; but after exposure to an effective change management plan, those agreeable to beginning change management phases increased to 70 percent.

    For change to be embraced by individuals who will be responsible for organizational change, the phases are necessary. Skipping stages of change management at project initiation, especially when using the Prosci Change Management Methodology, may result in chaos, non-deliverables, and individual resistance. To ensure your projects flow smoothly, keep these steps in mind to gain trust, acknowledgment, change control, and successful projects.