Change Management Christopher SmithJanuary 4, 2021

What Are the Most Valuable Levers of Change Management?

What Are the Most Valuable Levers of Change Management?

Since change management is a unique discipline with its own set of goals, priorities, activities, and strategies, it is important to have a proper set of change management tools, or levers of change.

These levers of change, such as business plans and templates, can significantly enhance the performance and outcomes of business transformation endeavors.

Below, we’ll learn about some of the most popular change management tools, or levers, and which ones should be incorporated into your next change project.

Levers of Change for Accelerating Business Transformation

According to Prosci, a “lever” is a type of tool that is used to drive success in another area.

An employee training plan, for instance, can be used to help fuel the adoption of new processes, procedures, skills, and, ultimately, change. The end goal of the training plan, in other words, is not simply to provide employees with new skills, but to drive the organizational change program forward.

This definition of “lever” underpins Prosci’s perspective on the levers of change, which we will explore below.

Prosci’s 5 Levers of Change

Prosci’s five change management levers include:

  • A communication plan. In Prosci’s approach, a communication plan is essential for building awareness of the need for change and a desire to support that change. The more effectively change managers can communicate these points, the more employees will engage with and support the project.
  • A sponsorship roadmap. Prosci points out that, compared to other contributing factors, sponsorship has the largest impact on the outcomes of a change project. To be effective, sponsors must be change leaders who actively engage with a project, build support teams within the upper echelon of the organization, and communicate clearly with employees about the project. A sponsorship roadmap can provide sponsors with the structure they need to achieve these aims.
  • A coaching plan. This plan outlines the necessary actions to take to ensure managers involve themselves in a program. Among other things, managers roles will include: communicating how the change affects employees, identifying and managing resistance to change, reinforcing change, and leading by example.
  • A training plan. Organizational changes often involve new processes, procedures, and mindsets. To enact change, therefore, employees must develop new skills and capabilities that close the gap between old expectations and new ones. Effective employee training should provide employees with the knowledge they need to successfully implement the change program and meet new performance goals.
  • A resistance management plan. Employees resist change for a variety of reasons. Oftentimes, however, that resistance stems from fear, such as the fear of incompetence or inadequacy. A resistance management plan starts by identifying these causes, then developing solutions that tackle those problems directly, rather than simply addressing the symptoms of resistance.

These levers are part of Prosci’s proprietary approach to change management, and they form the basis for the second stage of their 3-phase organizational change process. This process focuses on top-down organizational planning, and goes hand-in-hand with their other well-known change model, the ADKAR model.

Other Levers of Change

The plans listed above are only a few of the frameworks and templates that should be included in a change management toolbox, however.

Other must-have templates and levers of change include:

  • Change management frameworks. Change models, or frameworks, such as Prosci’s ADKAR model or the Kotter 8-step model, are essential tools for organizational change programs. These frameworks outline a series of steps to take when implementing any change program, ensuring that managers implement the most crucial project activities. The effective use of these tools can make a significant difference in project performance – or, in some cases, it can mean the difference between success and failure.
  • Change readiness assessments. A change readiness assessment, as the name suggests, helps determine how ready the organization is for a particular change. Areas to assess include organizational culture, employee skills, existing business processes, technology, and any other factors that could impact the change project. The readiness assessment will help change managers understand the gap that exists between the organization’s current state and where it needs to be. That information, in turn, will help managers create effective roadmaps for change.
  • Technology acceptance questionnaires. Digital transformation efforts almost always involve the implementation of new tools and technology. Technology acceptance questionnaires assess how willing and ready employees would be to adopt a new technology. These questionnaires, therefore, can be helpful when choosing digital technology, designing training programs, and rolling out new software.
  • Digital adoption plans. In a workplace context, digital adoption plans outline a structured approach to implementing new technology in the enterprise. An effective adoption plan addresses the key stages of the user journey as they adopt new tools, such as onboarding, training, and long-term support. Having a structured adoption plan can significantly improve employee training efforts, workforce productivity, and the outcomes of business programs such as digital transformation initiatives.

Tools such as these can not only improve the outcomes of a change program, they can also streamline workflows for managers and reduce the complications that are an inevitable part of any change program.

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