Making Changes Stick

September 8, 2022

Getting the Most Value from the Change

Our previous blogs covered the first two areas of the Organizational Change Management (OCM) Prosci® framework; Prepare Change and Manage Change. This blog focuses on the final area, Sustain Outcomes. The third phase concentrates on realizing the value of the change by ensuring the change is adopted and the organization is committed and prepared to sustain the change. 

Most people naturally revert to what they know and are comfortable with. Without focusing on sustaining the change, your team may fall back on using their old processes or find workarounds for the implemented changes. The more changes occurring in your organization simultaneously, the more overwhelmed your staff may feel. According to Prosci’s 2019 benchmarking study, 47% of the employee resistance participants encountered could have been avoided by implementing effective change management practices and principles. You will only realize the total ROI if the change “sticks.”

Critical Elements of Sustain Outcomes

Sustain Outcomes consist of assessing the performance of resistance management activities and documenting lessons learned for the future, including:

  • Review performance – start by establishing criteria and metrics to measure change management effectiveness. You may include; adoption metrics, qualitative/feedback metrics, employee performance, overall project performance, and change management team performance. Ways to determine if your team is engaged:
    • Using surveys, assessments, and feedback systems
    • Observing and interacting informally with change recipients through collecting comments and observations (how often are they reverting to their “old” methods)
    • Monitoring engagement through feedback channels and networks
    • Soliciting feedback by creating deliberate opportunities
    • Tracking fluctuations in performance
    • Tracking general use of and proficiency with implemented change
  • Activate Sustainment – based on the performance reviews, you should be able to identify gaps and areas of resistance. If you have discovered areas of resistance to the change, perform a root cause analysis to determine why this is happening. Once identified, develop corrective action plans and engage your sponsors and coaches to manage resistance. Implement the corrective action and remember to celebrate success. Nothing will motivate the team more to sustain the change than receiving recognition for their work.   
  • Transform Ownership – begins by discussing with the primary sponsor and stakeholders to review any outstanding issues blocking the transfer of ownership. Make sure there is a plan to resolve those issues before dissolving the OCM team. Transfer the ownership for sustaining the change to the manager(s) overseeing the team(s) impacted by the change. To achieve success means having an agreed-upon defined date with plans to transition ownership.   

Change Achieved

Continuing reinforcement of the change can be tricky since most organizations move right into the next change. It takes a concerted effort for reinforcement and sustainment activities; however, the results can directly impact success. At Dewpoint, we understand what it takes to implement OCM effectively. We can help you build internal change management capabilities to help you guide your employees in embracing, adopting, and using the change.