Organizational Change Management: Change Begins with Awareness

Organizational Change Management: Change Begins with Awareness

In our last Organizational Change Management (OCM) blog post, we promised to break down the individual elements of Prosci’s ADKAR Model, which supports the process of individual change. We’ll start with the first “A,” which stands for Awareness.

For individuals, the process of change begins with a clear understanding of why:

  • What is the change?
  • How will it affect me?
  • Why is it necessary?
  • What is the risk of not changing for the organization and for me?

It’s no coincidence that young children frequently meet requests from parents with a chorus of “why?” As individuals, we seek out personal justification to support our commitment to follow through with any sort of change in our professional and personal lives. Gaining that justification begins with awareness.

Other tenets of management theory tend to see this as articulation of “the burning platform” for an organization. The difference with the ADKAR Model is that while a burning platform might state the rationale for change in organizational terms, creating the awareness we seek here demands breaking the change down to its impact on the individual and communicating it clearly and frequently.

To drive awareness, it is critical for organizations to answer questions like these:

  • What is the change and when is it taking place?
  • Why is it necessary?
  • What happens if we don’t change?
  • How will it affect my job and when?
  • What do I need to do differently?

Without creating the required awareness right away and sustaining that communication throughout the process, success becomes uncertain, as insufficient information and lack of understanding cause employees to push back and hunker down to wait out what they expect will be the “flavor of the month”.

The initial elements of a change communication plan are critical to generate awareness of the change sufficient to help employees understand why. Any plan designed to create awareness needs to focus on the key audiences who will ultimately need to understand why and commit to follow through on their contribution toward making the change stick.

Over the next few months, we will explore the other four elements of the ADKAR Model, which are equally as critical to driving the adoption rates that make change successful.