Originally by Prosci [1] [2], Enhanced by Wexxa

In this whitepaper on change management we are going to look at the processes proposed by Prosci. The two layers discussed by Prosci are Business and Personal, and we are going to address both, and how additional insights and methods can accelerate already great ones.

Generally, there are two main processes in any change: planning and execution. In planning, it is crucial to evaluate, plan, assess, and involve. Then, in the following through phase, we deploy the change in the best way possible – to make the change happen as fast and efficient as possible.

At Wexxa, it is foremost within these perspectives our insights and methods can accelerate and boost the success rate.

Seven Top Contributors to Success

The seven top contributors to success in change management is the result of more than 4500 change leaders’ answers to the question:

What has been the single greatest contributor to the success of your change management program?

The responses

  1. Active and visible executive sponsorship
  2. Structured change management approach
  3. Dedicated change management resources
  4. Integration and engagement with project management
  5. Employee engagement and participation
  6. Frequent and open communication
  7. Engagement with middle managers


1. Active and visible executive sponsorship

The undoubtedly most common cited reason for success change was executive sponsorship. It is important for all of the organisation to see that those who decided on the change also lead the change. Walk the talk

2. Structured change management approach

The second success contributor is a structured approach. It makes for easier managing, follow-up, and repeatability.

  • Established
  • Customizable
  • Scalable
  • Easy to implement across multiple changes
  • Easy to apply at every phase of the project

3. Dedicated change management resources

  • A change team
  • Appropriate amount of funding and resources
  • Dedicated resources with previous experience of change management

4. Integration and engagement with project management

The integration of the change management with project management is also seen as a success factor.

  • Fully integrating the change management and project management approaches
  • Integrating change management activities into gate requirements
  • Supporting collaboration between project and change management teams to develop the overall project plan


5. Employee engagement and participation

Using the right people to drive change



Using the wrong people to drive change


Why is it so important? I’ve got time!



6. Frequent and open communication

  • Delivering change messages in a timely and transparent manner
  • Using effective channels and communicating frequently
  • Tailoring messages for the intended audience
  • Including clear and compelling reasons for the change and the implications of not changing

While the change practitioner is responsible for creating the communications plan and making sure it is carried out, rarely should the practitioner be the one doing the communication. Participants identified the groups that employees prefer to hear change messages from:


7. Engagement with middle managers

Middle managers are the least positive to change – and why blame them? Changes are pushed from executives and down the organisations – and the middle managers are the ones least involved in the decision and also those who need to deal with and drive change the most.


With insights about who are the most influential in the organisation, we can take the load off of most middle managers. And, of course, the middle managers who are most influential will be, if not involved in, informed quickly of new change initiatives.


The business dimension of change

In the business dimension of change, these are the standard steps of the typical business project:

I – Identify a business need or opportunity
D – Define the project (scope and objectives)
D – Design the business solution (new processes, systems, and organisational structure)
D – Develop the new processes and systems
I – Implement the solution into the organization


The people dimension of change

The ADKAR model – developed by Prosci – is used by 2/3rds of the fortune100 companies to successfully drive people change. The acronym stands for 5 different parts of change:

A – Awareness of what are the goals and purposes of the change
D – Desire to engage and participate in the change
K – Knowledge about how to change
A – Ability to realise and implement the change (resources & tools)
R – Reinforcement to keep individuals from falling into old patterns


Systems thinking

We need to understand that organisations are not linear – that they operate as a collection of components that interact together to form a whole. Each component must be part of the whole to do its essential function. The key issue which impacts on change is how these parts interact.

These interactions in systems lead to closed loops called feedback loops. A reinforcing loop is one which moves something in a direction. For example an employee who performs well tends to get more attention and support which makes them continue to perform well – i.e. a loop. Other loops are balancing, for example an employee performing well is given more work which can negatively affect his performance, which can then result in him receiving less work, sending his performance back up again. It balances itself. Systems work exponentially. That is, if one person tells two others positively about the change, and each of these tell two others about the change and so on, soon it spreads like wildfire – not in a linear/straight line fashion.

The seven levers of change

People support

1. Contacts between advocates and apathetics
2. Mass exposure
3. Hiring advocates
4. Removing resistors

Environmental support

5. Walk the talk
6. Ensure reward and recognition supports the change
7. Make sure that the infrastructure is in place to support the change.

There is no magic action that guarantees successful change. Understanding how to put the seven levers of change into practice is the key. Each situation and organisation will require different levers in different ways.

A checklist for change.

Contacts between advocates and apathetics

• Are the advocates (of change) identified?
• Are the advocates respected for their expertise in the product or service that the
• company produces?
• Can they use the three key skills?
• Can we foster contacts through networks?
• Are advocates being supported in implementing the change?

Mass exposure

• Does the mass exposure match the need?
• Is the mass exposure always honest?
• Will it pass a no-hype test?
• Is the mass exposure matched to the support for and commitment to the change?
• What might we be doing too much or too little of?

Hire advocates

• Is there a way of leveraging the hiring of new advocates when hiring for growth?
• Are we in danger of relying too much on hiring new advocates?
• Are we monitoring the resentment that often results from hiring new advocates?

Remove Resistors

• Are we listening to the concerns of resisters and making adjustments as appropriate?
• Are pockets of resistance identified?
• Do we have a plan to deal with resisters?
• Is there resistance in key places?
• Are we confusing apathy with resistance?

Rewards and recognition

• Are reward and recognition plans in place?
• Are we looking for the behaviours that make change work and rewarding the business
results from those behaviours?
• Are we leveraging recognition – including formal recognition?
• Is there a plan to reward and recognise early wins?


• Does the schedule match the work to be done? Do stakeholders understand the
• Do people understand how they will do their jobs once the change is implemented?
• Is there a plan for specific training in place?
• Are the tools, technology, data, and infrastructure in place?
• Is there harmful infrastructure (e.g. policies) that must be removed?
• Are there tools in place to measure progress?

Walk the talk

• Is it clear who the sponsor is?
• Does everyone involved understand the vision and the success criteria?
• Is leadership making the business need/opportunity clear, and do stakeholders
recognize it?
• Are the decision makers and the decision making process visible to those affected?
• Does every stakeholder see the link between company performance, the change
• initiative, and their own performance?


• What needs to be addressed simultaneously?
• Sequentially?
• What areas might undermine others?
• Enhance others?
• What other areas provide opportunities or concerns?
• What actions in your culture can make an idea contagious?


Read an extract of Shapiro’s book here.
Read 10 Principles of Change Management here.
Read about Prosci’s ADKAR here.
Read The seven top contributors of success here.


[1] The ADKAR model, Prosci., Source
[2] The seven top contributors of success, Prosci, Source