3 Major Challenges in Change Management; and How to Tackle Them

    Mar 27, 2020 | Posted by Michael Campbell

    Implementing successful change management in a single project is not an instantaneous action; but rather a journey that requires ongoing attention and can be impeded by a number of obstacles. For change managers, guiding an organisation through a period of change, there can be three major challenges barring the way: gaining buy-in; tracking project health and evaluating change management efforts. In order to deliver measurable business results from an initiative, overcoming each of these obstacles effectively is essential.

    1. Gaining Change Management Buy-in

    Without buy in for change management, the resistance level of employees rises. Each change effort will lack the necessary dedicated budget and resources required for success. The rate of project success can be directly linked to the presence of effective change management practices.

    According to Prosci’s Best Practices research report, those organisations who execute change management with excellence are 6 times more likely for their project to achieve its business objectives than those who either don’t use a structured change management approach at all, or who execute change management poorly.

    According to the same Prosci research, organisations with a project whose budget ranges from $1m to $5m, dedicate on average 3.5 FTEs and $679k to enable the effective deployment of excellent change management. When the importance of the change management role is understood and accepted, especially by Senior Executive Sponsors and directly impacted Line Managers buy-in levels increase.

    This senior level buy-in in turn enables effective change management to be properly resourced and deployed, employee resistance to change then diminishes and the chance of the project delivering its intended outcomes increases significantly.

    Tackling the challenge of gaining buy-in

    Support for change management is much more likely to be achieved when the benefits of the activity can be clearly identified and contextualised for the audience being addressed. When defined as simply a list of activities or procedures that will be implemented (increased communication plans, ongoing assessments, etc.), change management can be viewed simply as increased activities that will complicate the standard of daily outputs.

    Outlining each project objective and calculating the role that employee adoption plays in the achievement of each, is the first step in specifying the people dependant portion of ROI and benefits. Prosci has developed a change management return on investment (CMROI) calculator just for this purpose and it is a best practice to have multiple stakeholders answer the questions posed in the CMROI calculator, turning individual opinions into data.

    Relevant multiple stakeholders include the project manager, the project sponsor and a selection of directly impacted line managers. Embedding this CMROI calculation into a Business Case template for change management can help to accelerate senior level buy in to the value of change management.

    When directly impacted line managers and employees can relate to the practice of change management in terms of the goals that are being worked towards and the benefits that can be gained through their achievement, they are more likely to be bought into the concept and therefore provide the resource and participation levels required.

    2. Tracking project health


    Mapping the progress of each project towards completion and results achievement is essential for understanding overall performance. Not only this, but a developed understanding of project health throughout the lifecycle of the project allows for the identification of areas which require continued monitoring or improvements in order to deliver results.

    Tackling the challenge of monitoring project health

    The success and health of a project can be measured by considering the presence of a number of key attributes: strong leadership and sponsorship, effective project management and an appropriately scaled and customised change management strategy, well executed.

    These three elements make up the core of the Prosci Change Triangle Model, an effective tool for monitoring project health. For a successful and healthy project, each of these attributes must be present and equally strong. By using the  PCT model, it is possible to devise an assessment strategy with each project stakeholder to evaluate progress and strategies for continued improvement.

    The PCT assessment enables measurement of the health of a single or multiple projects throughout their lifecycle. Data points can be solicited from multiple stakeholders with suggested areas and tactics for improvement available to help organisations improve their project health day by day.

    3. Evaluating change management efforts


    Project success can be directly correlated to the quality of change management efforts. The ability to continuously evaluate change management efforts means that improvements and strategy adjustments can be made in real time. Ongoing improvements will lead to higher adoption rates which results in the realisation of compounding benefits.

    Tackling the challenge of evaluating change management efforts

    Prosci, global leaders in change management research, identify seven contributors to change success:

    • Active and visible sponsorship
    • Applying a structured change management approach
    • Dedicated change management resources and funding
    • Frequent and open communication about the change and the need for change
    • Employee engagement and participation
    • Engagement and integration with project management
    • Engagement with and support from middle management

    In order to best understand how organisational change management capability maturity levels can be improved current capabilities must first be assessed. Performing a Prosci Change Management Maturity Audit can enable the identification of current strengths and weaknesses, allowing for an ongoing strategy for improvement to be devised.

    Built into this structured and intentional strategy should also be continual points of assessment and an ongoing review of progress against targeted goals.  Again according to Prosci’s  Best Practices research, Enterprise Change Management maturity matters; organisations with Level 5 maturity have 65% of their projects delivering successful business results whereas Level 1 organisations only have 37% of their projects delivering successful outcomes.

    That difference in change success could easily between the difference between profit and loss, leader or laggard, existence or extinction.

    Long term results and sustainable organisational change requires change leaders to have the ability to identify and navigate three of the major challenges of change management. By overcoming the obstacles of gaining project buy-in, monitoring project health and evaluating change management efforts long term, sustainable organisational change competency and increased capacity can be delivered.

    Contact CMC to discuss more of the points raised in this blog or consider participation in one of our public open enrolment Prosci training programs and workshops in Singapore, UK Ireland or Italy.

    Topics: Business Transformation, Successful Change and Transformation