A Great Change Management Implementation Framework for Change Practitioners
By Ogbe Airiodion | Senior Change Management Lead
A Proven, Repeatable, Change Approach to Managing Organizational Change
When it comes to implementing a structured change management approach for the people side of change, there are a wide range of methodologies and change strategies that can be applied. This article outlines the free AGS Change Mgt Model – developed by AGS Founder, Ogbe Airiodion.
As a strong advocate of the change management community, I believe in defining, developing, and offering best practices, tips, and guides for free to the change management sector.
Read below for a detailed overview of the background and driving factors behind the AGS Change Model that I developed to help change practitioners increase their change management successes. Throughout my years of experience, I have discovered that applying a well structured, repeatable, and proven change management program drastically increases the success of change implementation by over 90%.
Sr. Change Management Lead
Strategic & Tactical Change Implementation
How I Developed the AGS Change Management Methodology
Over the last decade, I have worked on large scale, complex projects as a Senior Change Management Lead and Consultant for top banking, financial, and technology companies including Cisco, Intel, HSBC, AHQ, Berkshire Hathaway, Deloitte, Accenture, and many more.
Some of these organizations leverage the Prosci change management approach based on its flexibility and focus on the individual end-user. Other organizations leverage other types of change management methodologies. Over the last decade, I have mastered a wide range of change models, and personally I found that some of these models lacked some key change components that were needed for end-to-end change management programs.
In general, any type of change management methodology should be considered the science of change management. It is the same concept involved with getting an education or getting trained on something. You learn the science (method) of that topic.
Over time, you will need to build the art of change management, which involves developing proficiency. With years of experience, which includes seeing what works and what doesn’t work at various organizations, you can build upon any change methodology, and perfect your art of change management implementation, which is what I did.
AGS Change Management Framework
There are four simplified stages to a great change framework.
Below is the holistic picture of these four stages outlined in the AGS Change Framework, and I will explain each stage in the sections below.
Send me a message if you have any questions or feedback about this framework. As a Pioneer of best change management practices, I believe in engaging the global change management and project management communities.
The “Science” (the methodology) of change management is great because it provides the structure. But, the “Art” of change management is even more important because it is centered around the actual end-to-end implementation and management of a structured change program.
The “Art” of change management involves the real life implementation, templates, samples, best practices for each step of the way, the toolkits, day-to-day change challenges, and lessons learned from implementing past change programs.
The “Science” provides an outline of what should happen and the “Art” involves coloring in that outline with the processes and tangible activities needed to bring a change program to life.
Let us now discuss the various stages of the AGS Change Framework so you can determine how to best leverage this for your own change programs.
AGS Change Management Methodology Stages
- Change Assessments
- Playbook & Strategy
- Change Implementation
- Change Normalization
Stage 1: Change Assessments
Conduct a Project Assessment
The first thing you need to do when you are brought in to support a project is to conduct a thorough project assessment. This will involve meeting with the Program Lead, Project Manager(s), Sponsors, and other stakeholders.
The agenda of this project assessment is to understand the scope, scale, magnitude, timeline, WIIFM (What’s in it for me, i.e. for impacted users), and overall objectives of the program. This knowledge then allows you to effectively determine how to conduct your change management assessments that are critical to supporting the project and making it successful.
Without doing a program assessment, you will always be one step behind, and will always be playing catch-up, including during program meetings, where conversations might be flying over your head. This is not an ideal state for you if you are a Change Practitioner that has been assigned to a project. Understanding what is being discussed, as well as the project objectives will go a long way in your change management implementation success.
Perform a Stakeholder Analysis
As part of the first stage of implementing the AGS Change Framework, you will want to conduct an effective stakeholder analysis which will help you identify which stakeholders are being impacted by a change project and where each one stands. For example, which stakeholders are receptive to the change? Which ones are strong advocates? Which ones are resisting the change? Etc. It’s important to document the current state that each stakeholder is currently at, as well as the future state where you need each one to be in relation to their support for the change project.
You will want to work with the project team, program managers, and program sponsors to identify stakeholders that should be added to your stakeholder list. Read more here: How to Perform the Best Stakeholder Analysis. Also, review this page: Stakeholder Engagement and Management.
Conduct an Extensive Change Impact Assessment
One of the most critical deliverables you need to complete as soon as possible will be conducting an organizational change impact assessment. An organizational impact assessment is the set of tasks that you perform to document and identify the impacts of a change. When an organization implements changes to its business processes, technology platforms, organizational culture, job roles, or policies, or when it expands to new locations, there are often individuals and groups that are impacted by the change initiative.
Knowing who is going to be impacted, how they’re going to be impacted, and the severity of that impact to them is critical if you want to implement your organizational change project successfully. Read more here: Best Change Impact Assessment | Everything You Need to Know.
Perform an Organization Readiness Assessment
Just as important as conducting a change impact assessment is performing an organization readiness assessment, also referred to as a “change readiness” assessment. A change readiness assessment helps you gauge how ready impacted organization(s) or groups are for a change.
It looks at things like general awareness of the change, receptiveness to the change, change fatigue (capacity to take on one more change), and overall preparedness for the change program’s Go-Live date. Read more here: Change Readiness Assessment Guide | All You Need to Know.
Conduct a Change Risk Assessment
Oftentimes, change practitioners fail to conduct a change risk assessment, which is a mistake. To ensure you avoid that mistake, make sure you perform an assessment of the change risk for any project you are providing change management for.
A change management risk assessment is the process of analyzing, identifying, understanding, and managing the risks that a change management program will face throughout the lifecycle of the change implementation. Read more: What is a Change Risk Assessment? Why is it Important, and Do You Need a Risk Analysis Matrix?
Summary of Ogbe’s activities during the first stage (Putting things into practice):
(1) I generally start out on a project by hitting the ground running right from day 1. I focus on ramping up and working with the project sponsors and program managers to understand the scope, objectives, goals, issues, risks, roadblocks, milestones, timeline, and overall vision of the initiative(s) or program(s).
(2) Next, I review the company/group/team’s change management playbook and framework. Most projects don’t have a documented change adoption playbook or framework, and so I generally have to create one. For those projects that have an existing change management playbook, I often align my change approach to theirs. And if their playbook has gaps, I’ll often propose a more optimal change approach that can help strengthen their playbook.
(3) My change management approach during the first phase involves conducting a series of assessments including change impact assessments to identify business processes, technology solutions, job functions, and organizational groups that will be impacted by the change. I also conduct a target audience analysis, which allows me to create a matrix of impacted employees and front line managers. In addition, I also will conduct a stakeholder assessment to identify the leaders and executives that will be impacted by the change, that way we can effectively engage them throughout the duration of the project.
Stage 2: Playbook & Strategy
The next stage of the proven AGS Change Management Framework involves creating the change management playbook that will be used to implement your change management deliverables.
A change management playbook outlines the change plans and strategies that will be used for your communication campaigns, how you plan to engage stakeholders and end users, how you plan to get impacted users and groups ready for the change, how you create, conduct, and track your training programs, how you will manage resistance, and more.
A change playbook should start with a table of contents that outlines the various strategies and plans that the change practitioner will use in driving the people side of change for a transformational change program. Read more and Download Your Free AGS Change Management Strategic Playbook.
Summary of Ogbe’s activities during the second stage (Putting things into practice):
(1) Based on the results of the series of assessments discussed above during Stage 1, I then develop the end-to-end change management strategic playbook that outlines the strategies that will be used to drive adoption for the project or program. Every project and initiative is unique. And so a change strategy needs to match the scale of impacted end-users, as well as be structured to address each group’s readiness for, and willingness to support the change. It also needs to be flexible and robust enough to support the scope and severity of the change.
(2) When implementing your own change management approaches and strategies within an organization, you can leverage the activities and plans presented above to help increase stakeholder and end-user adoption. In addition, if you’d like to share information on best change approaches that have worked great for you or your organization, then please click below and send me a message about your approach.
Stage 3: Change Implementation
The third stage of the AGS Change Framework involves implementing your various change management plans and deliverables. If you’ve gone through the earlier steps during Stage 1 and Stage 2, then you’ll be well prepared for implementing each area of your change strategy.
Read more below:
- Change Management Playbook
- Communications Plan
- Coaching Plan
- Stakeholder Engagement and Management
- Change Champion Networks
- Change Management Roadmaps
- Resistance Management Plan
- Training Plan, Development & Delivery
Summary of Ogbe’s activities during the third stage (Putting things into practice):
For the third stage of the organizational change management process, I focus on delivering communications, training, engagement, organization readiness, and other change deliverables. During this stage, I spend a lot of time in spreading awareness about the change.
I utilize multiple communication mediums including emails, newsletters, videos, podcasts, 1-on-1 with key leaders, group meetings, internal social media, and blogging. I also leverage the help of key leaders, and managers to waterfall down the communications to their direct reports.
This is a best practice. Decades of studies have shown that employees prefer getting change communications from their managers and leaders.
My change approach during this stage also involves developing and implementing leadership engagement activities, end-user touch points, coaching, resistance management, and training, as well as standing up a change champion network to help facilitate the change across impacted functions.
Stage 4: Change Normalization
The final stage of the AGS Change Framework involves the processes for sustaining the change. It involves ensuring you are supporting impacted users and helping them reinforce the new behaviors and skills. This is a vital stage of any transformation because if not performed, users can revert back to old ways of doing things and undo much of the work you’ve accomplished during Stage 3 of the change project.
Read more below:
Summary of Ogbe’s activities during the fourth stage (Putting things into practice):
For the final phase of a change initiative, my change management approach involves tracking and measuring user adoption of the change – before, during, and after Go-Live.
Part of this process involves collecting and analyzing feedback and adoption metrics (training performance, training attendance, usage of new processes and solutions, grassroots feedback from front line managers, FAQs, # of people requesting help, # of people developing workarounds & shortcuts, and many more).
Another change approach that has worked very well for me involves celebrating quick wins and successes, and also rewarding the change champion network (e.g., bringing their involvement and participation to the attention of senior leaders).
Program management focuses on the technical side of change (designing, building, and deploying solutions), while change management is the people side of any organizational change, and involves helping stakeholders and impacted users to embrace, adopt, and become proficient in using the new solutions.
The organizational change management approach presented above, is an approach that I’ve developed over the years.
I recommend this approach based on its flexible structure and very hands-on approach.
As organizational change practitioners, our role involves helping to increase program success and end-user adoption. Implementing the AGS Change Framework outlined on this page (and the linked pages) will go a long way in helping increase your change management successes and performance when guiding impacted users as they transition through their change curve and milestones.
You can take what is presented on this page, and apply it to any type of project, small or large. Simple or complex. Local or global. You can also let me know if you have any questions. The change management community is a close-knit and ever-changing community, and I am a big advocate of this community.
Note that it is normal human behavior not to like change. Even when people, including employees, know that a change is beneficial to them, it still requires an extended level of effort for them to change their habits and learn new ways. And so, to successfully get people to willingly transition from their current state to a future state and to want to support a change, it is essential that you apply a structured change process, combined with an effective change management approach.
If you’ll like to share feedback on best change approaches that have worked really great for you, kindly click here: Contact Ogbe Airiodion, and send me a message about your approach.
Contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or feedback about this post: Contact Ogbe Airiodion.
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