Five Tips for Getting Senior Executives on Board with Change

by Joanne Rinaldi, Director - Service Delivery


Tip 1

Help Senior Executives see the connection between business performance and change capability

Every organisation needs to know how to adapt and embrace change in order to remain competitive and evolve.

  • 72% of the 1,120 respondents in Prosci’s 2016 Best Practices Report said they expected the amount of change to increase in the next two years.
  • KPMG’s third CEO Outlook survey of 400 U.S. company leaders found that 2/3 believe that the next 3 years will be more critical than the last 50 years. In 3 years time, 40% of CEOs expect to be running significantly transformed companies. Such change is causing CEOs concern about their organisation’s current capabilities.

Tip 2

Quantify the people ROI of your projects to Senior Executives

Employee adoption and usage of change has a direct impact on achieving expected results and outcomes.

The greater the percentage dependency on employee’s adoption and usage of the change (project results and outcomes) the more important Change Management becomes.

How does Prosci define adoption and usage?

Adoption: Employees are doing their jobs the new way

  • Adhering to new processes
  • Exhibiting new behaviors
  • Using new systems/tools

Usage: Employees are effective in their “adoption”

  • Proficiently
  • Completely
  • Minimal errors

In my previous role as Change Lead of a transformation program, my Executive Sponsor knew Change Management was required, but didn’t realise how dependent the project ROI was on adoption and usage.   

I used Prosci’s ROI formula to show that at least 75% of the benefits of the Transformation came from adoption and usage and that installation, ie, “switching on” the change would not  alone deliver success.

We measured usage one week and one month after Go Live and achieved an impressive 97%. This was the first time the Executive Sponsor and people in the organisation saw first hand the value of Change Management in delivering project benefits.

Tip 3

Help executives understand that the data shows Change Management drives achieving results, staying on budget and on schedule.

Research from Prosci shows that projects with effective Change Management are six times more likely to achieve outcomes. Plus projects are more likely to finish on budget and stay on schedule.

Tip 4

Senior Executives are the #1 success factor in change.   

Active and visible executive sponsorship is ranked as the #1 contributor to change success in all 9 Prosci global Best Practices in Change Management reports. IBM and the Project Management Institute studies also rank Sponsorship as #1.

Plus, employees have preferred senders of messages about change - the people they regard as credible. There are two key people in the organisation from whom employees want to hear from about the change: the person they report to and the leader at the top.

Tip 5

Equip Senior Executives to be effective change Sponsors

Are your Executives aware that even with the best Change Managers, they have three roles in change, that can’t be delegated without impacting the success of the change:

Prosci’s ABC’s of Sponsorship:

  • Actively and visibly participate throughout the project
  • Build a coalition of sponsorship with peers and managers
  • Communicate directly with employees

You can set your Sponsor up for success by:

  • Using the Sponsor Assessment Diagram as a support tool to identify the strengths of the Sponsorship Coalition – and the actions the Primary Sponsors needs to align and equip this group to lead the change;
  • Work with your Sponsor to create and implement the Sponsor Plan.