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Change management: the devil is in the detail (or more accurately the individual)

Change is often scary within organizations or functions of any size. Yet as individuals we experience change on a daily if not hourly basis within our personal lives. What is it that creates such fear and resistance to positive evolution when placed in a corporate environment? Job security, increasing workloads, having to learn new skills or ways of working?

Many Change Practitioners highlight 70% of change initiatives fail (Mckinsey & Company, July 2015, Forbes July 2017) – projects not meeting objectives, projects not finishing on time or budget and not achieving return on investment. I’d like to take a more optimistic viewpoint and suggest that change happens all around us, all the time so levels of success far outweigh failure. What is important is to recognize the reason for successful change and that’s YOU.

Breaking down negative perceptions of change – by this I’m focusing on wider positive change – can be attributed to many factors including other priorities, management behavior, employee resistance to change, poor communication, unexpected impacts, or reinforcement.

There are many more but without question your individual acceptance and role within that change is critical to success or failure. It is also true that the more informed you are, the more likely or well-equipped you will be to support and ideally thrive in the new future state.

The Prosci ADKAR model identifies 5 elements of successful change management:

  1. Awareness of the need to change
  2. Desire to make the change happen
  3. Knowledge about how to change
  4. Ability to implement new skills and behaviors
  5. Reinforcement to retain the change once it has been made

Steps 1 and 2, building up your knowledge and understanding of how this may impact you as an individual as well as the organization is the first step to recognizing what you need to do to thrive in the new world. The choices an individual makes directly influences the success or failure of a change project. It is through properly managing individual employees’ ADKAR, we can drive toward achieving the results of each initiative.

Organizations rarely, if ever, change to make it more difficult for their workforce. Change intentions are driven by a desire to meet market need. Effective businesses know how to manage this process of change to ensure success. It should never be the case that change is achieved via one giant leap, but one step at a time that ultimately accelerates successful adoption and achievement of objectives.

Successful change has a far better chance of achieving its goals when managed effectively:

“93% of projects with excellent change management met or exceeded objectives compared to 15% with poor change management” - Prosci benchmarking report 2018

As qualified change practitioners, it becomes more and more evident in the projects we support from a consultancy and implementation perspective for some of the world’s leading brands – that overall success is ultimately guided by individual responsibility to allow for evolution and therefore by extension the culture and mindset that has been created within those organizations.

Realizing the goals of any change can be a very positive and collaborative experience given the right methodologies are applied to engage and move forward together.

The next time you’re going through change in your personal or professional life, consider the model above - Prosci ADKAR. You and those around you hold the key to a successful outcome – whatever that may be.

To learn more about the Client Solutions function and Change Management please visit

About John Lawrence: John brings 17+ years of experience in brand marketing—both agency and brand side. Operating as a consultant for global, regional and national organizations, he provides Continuous Improvement (CI) projects from consultancy through to implementation across channels. As VP, Global Consulting, John has strategically led initiatives for some of the world’s most prominent brand owners to increase their speed-to-market, reduce costs in the marketing supply chain and better utilize their internal and external resources.

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