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Making Change is About You!

Let’s face it, you need to make a change (not your organisation – you)

So, you know you need to change your job or maybe quit smoking, perhaps drop a few extra kilos or you want to learn a new skill. But, how do you get your head around making the change when you feel as though you can’t even get started. Understanding change is about the individual. Going through change is a process, not an event, and at times, is a challenging one. Let’s not forget a very important factor – change is about people. It’s an incredibly personal process impacted by so many variables:

  • your values, principles, and beliefs

  • emotional well-being

  • the environment you’re in and what’s influencing you at the time

  • how you’ve experienced change in the past

  • if you have adequate information

  • if you have the skills and ability to undertake the change.

Everyone changes at a different pace.

Whether it is you going through the change or someone you know, being able to understand change from an individual’s perspective is a valuable skill. Prosci® is a change management methodology that is recognised for its pragmatic approach to managing change. A key differentiator of Prosci’s® methodology is its recognition that people are individuals and will therefore experience change at their own pace. After all, have you ever seen an organisation successfully implement sustainable change by using a standard, one-size fits all approach? It just doesn’t work because we are dealing with humans – individuals.

A practical tool to work through the change

Prosci’s ADKAR® model is a practical goal-orientated diagnostic tool designed to help understand the process individuals go through to change. Let’s see how it works.

As an example we will use losing weight. ADKAR® has five elements as follows:

  1. Awareness: list the reasons you believe this change is necessary. Example: Are you aware of the need to lose weight? The excess weight is impacting my health, my relationships, and I am feeling tired.

  2. Desire: list the factors or consequences (good and bad) that create a desire to change. This is about the ‘WIIFM’ – what’s in it for me? You have to make a personal decision to engage in the change based on your personal motivations. Example: Do you have the personal motivation to lose weight? I will look better, I will have more energy, my clothes will fit better, I will feel healthier.

  3. Knowledge: list the skills and knowledge needed for the change, both during and after the transition. Example: Do you know how to safely lose weight? What is your current health status, what foods to eat, what lifestyle changes are necessary eg. exercise.

  4. Ability: Considering the skills and knowledge listed above, evaluate your ability to perform or act in the new way. Are there any barriers inhibiting your ability? Is there special support needed eg. training, mentoring, coaching etc.? Example: Can you put your knowledge into practice? you might need support from a dietician or personal trainer.

  5. Reinforcement: List the reinforcements that will help to retain the change. Are incentives in place to help make the change stick? Are there incentives not to change? Example: ongoing medical assessments, weight and health monitoring, new clothes.

Have a go!

Consider a change you might be close to, one you are experiencing personally or a change you are having difficulty facilitating in another person. When testing this tool, be sure you select a change you have been trying to make happen that is not working, regardless of your continued efforts. To measure where you’re up to, and key areas you need to focus on, create an ADKAR® profile for the change. On a scale of one (eg. no engagement) to five (eg. complete engagement), rate yourself for each of the five elements. Remember, these ratings are subjective. The first element where you receive a three or less is the point where you should start your focus. This is called the ‘barrier’ point.

Here is an example of an ADKAR® profile :

You have to be all in!

Remember, each element is important and will contribute to how successful you are (or are not) in changing. Miss an element and you risk failing or only attaining a suboptimal result. Not addressing each one of these elements is also why change usually doesn’t stick. For example, if you focus only on Awareness, you will know why you need to change, but will be unlikely to do anything about it. Alternatively, if you focus only on Awareness and Knowledge (this is what many organisations tend to do), you risk creating “knowledgeable resistors” who are aware of the change requirement and the skills needed, but actively resist it in preference for the status quo.…not the most effective approach for change to happen.

Desire is the hardest element to influence as it’s so personal. Everyone’s level of desire is going to be different and relative to what’s going on for them at the time. This is where understanding individual preferences and emotional intelligence are invaluable skills for people leading change.

Remember, change is a process, not an event. Part of that process must be to reinforce and frequently engage with the change. The question is, if you’ve done the change once, but there’s no reinforcement to sustain the change, have you really made the change at all?


About the author: Carly Nikolic

Carly is an experienced leader with a track record in driving change and delivering corporate and strategic communications that are designed to unlock business benefits and performance outcomes. She is an accredited Prosci facilitator and trainer. Her experience includes working within large, multi-faceted organisations across public and private enterprise in a variety of sectors, including resources/mining, health, construction, technology, environment, not-for-profit, and media.

People engage Carly because she is a facilitator of change and makes the complex uncomplex. She inquisitively seeks the truth while taking the necessary actions to make a valuable contribution to organisations, supporting them to achieve their goals and strategy while maximising resource effectiveness and efficiency.

A passionate and creative professional possessing a collaborative, consultative style of management, Carly is skilled at developing and implementing fit-for-purpose solutions that stick – from the boardroom to frontline.

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For further information on Prosci Change Management:

For further information on the ADKAR model:

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