In any change initiative, the technical side of the change, mostly referred to as the hard side, usually gets most focus and substantial effort from both leaders and project teams. If it is financial decisions, they must be worked out. In a case of integrating new business systems, systems development will be done.

Success of the change does not lie in successful implementation and focus of the technical side; the difference lies in getting people on board and participating in the change itself, particularly where the changes being introduced impact how people do their jobs.

We define change management as a structured process using a set of tools to effectively manage the people side of change; Change management is therefore both a process and a competency.


The change management process

When viewed as a process, change management becomes the set of steps followed by a project team member on a particular project or initiative to deliver desired business results and outcomes.

The steps involve the application of the change approach enshrined in the change strategy and change plans which focus on supporting, equipping and moving people through the change.

Change management competency

When change management is viewed as an organizational competency this refers to a leader or manager’s ability to effectively lead their people through change. The idea of a leadership competency is familiar across organizational ranks, but what that competency entails depends on a person’s relationship with change.

While competency varies depending on one’s relationship to change, organizations are more effective and successful when they build change management competencies throughout their management levels.


There are various reasons to apply effective change management on both large- and small-scale change efforts. These are:

  1. Organisational change happens one person at a time; organisations don’t change, people do
  2. Poor management of change is costly; avoid the Re-‘s (re-train, re-schedule, re-budget)
  3. You are 6 times more likely to meet your project objectives with the effective application of change management


Effective change management requires two perspectives: an individual perspective and an organizational perspective.

Individual change management

The individual perspective is an understanding of how people experience change. Prosci’s ADKAR® Model describes change as successful when an individual has:

  • Awareness of the need for change
  • Desire to participate in and support the change
  • Knowledge on how to change
  • Ability to implement required skills and behaviors
  • Reinforcement to sustain the change

Organizational change management

The organisational perspective of change management is the process and activities that project teams utilize to support successful individual change. If ADKAR describes what an individual needs to make a change successfully, then organisational change management is the set of actions to help build awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement across the organization.