Change Management - Best Practice or Right Practice?

By Joanne Rinaldi, Senior Consultant, Being Human

The question I am asked most is: “How do I introduce Best Practice Change Management in my organisation when we struggle with the basics?”

It’s tempting to get excited as a change practitioner when networking with industry professionals about the latest and greatest… then we go to back to our organisation and we find ourselves leading change at a basic level.

Don’t be disheartened! The value we add is not always introducing best practice, it’s about understanding best practice so we can tailor and introduce right practices.

Right practice, also known as ‘best fit’ or ‘fit for purpose’, starts with identifying the level of change maturity in your organisation, where it is now and where the opportunities are to progress.  

Here’s a summary of Prosci’s Change Management Maturity Model.

Or to conduct a Maturity Assessment, visit and look for the Audit tool.

Level 1 – Ad hoc or Absent

Level 2 – Isolated Projects

Level 3 – Multiple Projects

Level 4 – Organisational Standards

Level 5 – Organisational Competency

Next, apply these three steps:

Step 1 - What can I learn from Best Practice to increase the effectiveness of Change Management on my project?  Think about these key findings:

  • Sponsor effectiveness – In each of Prosci’s nine global benchmarking studies over 18 years, change leaders ranked active and visible sponsorship as the number one contributor to success.
  • Cultural awareness – Culture is crucial and the better we understand our culture the more effective we can be at implementing change. The current 2016 Prosci Best Practices Report shows four ways that cultural awareness influences change management practices.
  • Change agents or champions – leveraging networks to support change implementation in our organisations.
  • Managers – The importance of the manager’s skill set and role in coaching their teams through the transition from current state to future state.

Step 2 – Decide how much time and effort you can invest in one or more of these areas to increase Change Management effectiveness on your project.

For example:

Identify your "small win big gain". I use this approach to make an immediate difference with my change Sponsor by helping them understand the importance of their role and how I would support them.

Step 3 – Celebrate the small wins with acknowledgement, recognition and measurements.   

Never underestimate the power of small wins, as each step in applying effective Change Management is a step forward on the journey of building capability.

For example:

On a project, by recognising the efforts of managers who invested time with their employees to understand the personal impacts of change they we about to experience, we gained a higher level of readiness and participation. Early resistance decreased significantly, validated by our engagement pulse checks.

Wrap up

As change practitioners we are committed to keeping up to date with best practices. But our organisations may not be ready to adopt these approaches because of their current level of Change Management Maturity or capability. So start small and choose the “right fit” to build capability, one activity, one project at a time.  

Remember - small win = big gain!