What changes when you change scale in Change Management?

Building change capability is a change, like any other change, involving people adopting new working methods.

So, one could imagine that this change would need what all changes need; strong sponsorship, good project management, and a focus on the people side, all backed up by a clear definition of what success would look like. Yes, that is true, but is that all? Let’s look at Prosci’s research on this.

The research shows that several factors determine the success of building change capability. We shall visit each in turn over the next few weeks. Underpinning these factors, however, is one element that respondents strongly identified; the need for a method.

A vital strength of a method is its inherent structure. Research has consistently shown that structure is a significant contributor to change success. Since 2005 a structured approach has consistently appeared as the second or third most potent factor for change success after sponsorship.

At a recent change management conference, I heard a presenter say, “It’s not important that you follow a specific method as long as you use a comprehensive tool to help you manage change”. 

 There could be more than one comprehensive toolset; with the focus on digitization these days, we see tools being launched daily. But let’s imagine what our enterprise would look like if several toolsets were used simultaneously. Of necessity, each would reference a language of change different from another toolset.

Without a method, we cannot express value; we cannot build knowledge, and managing change is a process of building knowledge in an organization. So, while a change manager could use some toolset without a method, they will likely find significant misunderstanding and lack of support without the fundamental understanding and consistency of applying a method. 

Changing scale, moving from a single initiative of change to deploying an enterprise-wide change, like change capability, also requires a strategy to achieve success. Over half the organizations that responded to our research indicated that they were actively deploying change management as a capability. They do this because this activity leads organizations to achieve their targeted ROI on change initiatives more often, which is the ultimate test of value.

Organizations implementing strategies specific to a particular method and aligning the entire organization with a consistent methodology significantly impact the rate at which they build change capability. The deployment must provide repeatable processes and tools that employees can use throughout the organization; deployment requires a solid methodology as its foundation.

So, armed with a solid method as a foundational element, we can move on to considering five strategic areas where change capability is built. These include Leadership, Projects, Skills, Structure and Process. When we meet again next time, we shall visit the strategic area of Leadership.

Actions like how leaders govern and sponsor the deployment of change capability set the base and provide the energy and political will to start and keep momentum in managing change. However, we would do well to consider which method we will use to support our drive to manage change better.

*Tom Marsicano is the CEO of ‘and Change’, a change management consulting and training company. He is a Master Certified Prosci® Instructor with an extensive background, especially in financial services and IT systems. His love for research make him a widely respected facilitator and speaker. Write to him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or learn more at andchange.com.

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Last modified on Monday, 22 May 2023 18:31

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