5 Steps to Successful Change Management

Let’s be honest. Change isn’t easy for most people. We get comfortable in routine and breaking out of that can be a bit of a challenge. So imagine trying to change an entire team or organization.

“Organizations don’t change. People within organizations change.”

Organizations don’t change unless people within them change--and that requires strategic planning and ongoing communication.

Whether strategic or tactical, mandated or self-initiated, change happens in organizations with or without warning.

What becomes important is proper planning for change to succeed. And oftentimes, people--the most important variable to change and transformation success--is not considered soon enough in the change process.

Why is change management important?

The best process is useless if people don’t routinely follow the process. The best technology has no use if people don’t plug it in and use it to its capability.

Interestingly, transformation projects succeed or gain institutional adoption only 10% to 20% of the time. So the question must be asked: do these small success rates justify the capital expense and effort put into change?

To improve this rate, it is on company executives to identify and implement a proper change management plan.

What does a change management process look like?

Change management is often thought of as the last step, however it should be among the first steps once change is identified and be part of an ongoing process.  

The sooner you can get buy-in from people gives them a sense of ownership so that when it comes to enacting the change, they’re already on board.

There are numerous practices, methods, models, and theories that help provide ease, quantification, and frameworks to support change. While there is no “one size fits all,” we typically start with the outcome-oriented ADKAR model:


  1. Create awareness and communicate the need for change. This helps people understand why change is needed and will help get people on board from the beginning.
  2. Foster desire to make the change. Helping employees see how the change will benefit their daily routine can help create desire. Designating change leaders can help with this process.
  3. Provide knowledge on how to change. For a successful transition, training and education is needed to help your team understand how their responsibilities, skills and processes will be impacted.
  4. Ensure your employees have the ability to make the change. Building confidence in a team or individual’s ability to change is critical. This can be built through coaching or hands-on training. This will also help bring potential issues and obstacles to light so they can be addressed.
  5. Reinforce the change. Ongoing reinforcement is needed, as well as celebrating success along the way. This is also a great time to collect feedback on the current change or find ways for improvement in the future.

Change Management doesn't end when the change is in place.

The cycle doesn’t stop once the change is implemented. The success of previous change affects the success of future change. Having seen successful change boosts confidence within an organization and makes future change even more probable.

If your organization doesn't have a change management process in place, we'd be happy to help guide you in the right direction.