• Bram Eekhout

How process visualisations create a change foundation supporting the Prosci ADKAR model

Credit: Prosci

In my last LinkedIn article I shared with you why a solid change foundation is essential for organizations to successfully change from A to B. In this article I want to zoom in on the transition to get from A (current state) to B (future state) using a solid change foundation and how that relates to the elements of ADKAR, Prosci’s framework for individual change. To be clear; this article does not focus on all the (human) factor’s effecting the ADKAR elements. It focuses on how a change foundation, visualizing an organizations current state, can contribute to successfully going through the 5 stages of change as described in the ADKAR model.

ADKAR stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. These are the five steps of the ADKAR model as described by Prosci.

1. Awareness of the need for change

2. Desire to support and participate in the change

3. Knowledge of how to change

4. Ability to implement required skills and behaviors

5. Reinforcement to sustain the change

The ADKAR model states that without Awareness people often do not see the need to change and I fully agree. A solid change foundation helps to create awareness by visualizing the current state of the organization, showing people exactly where in the current state improvements need to be made. Visualize your current state using words of the work floor itself, and visualise both your high level processes and detail level processes to zoom in on the exact problems your organization is facing. This will help you to create the awareness you need to help your people see the need for the change you want to implement.

The second step of the ADKAR model is the Desire to change. One of the factors for increasing people’s participation in and support for the change is to help them understand what’s in it for them (WIIFM - What’s In It For Me?). A visualized current state will help people to understand what’s in it for them when it shows the roles and responsibilities within your organization and how these are connected. By enabling people to see where they are in the big picture, and how their roles and responsibilities are affected by the change (from a high level perspective to their daily work routines) it will be easier for them to see what the change means for them personally.

A visualized current state of your organization I believe not only shows high level processes but also zooms in on detailed level processes. It shows what employees' daily work routines look like and what knowledge, skills and experience they need to do their job well. It visualizes the current state, but you can also use it to visualize the future state in that same visualization. That way you actually visualize the transition form A to B, enabling people to compare the difference. That is the way a solid change foundation supports the third step of ADKAR, the Knowledge of how to change, visualizing and explaining how to use the new processes, systems and tools.

The fourth ADKAR step is about the Ability to change. Awareness, desire and knowledge are important steps but if one does not have the ability to change the change itself will not be successful. A good visualization of the current and future state of your organization will show what the change means for people in real life. It should show responsibilities and roles. A good visualization of high level and detailed level processes should enable you to zoom in on these roles as well. Use these roles to describe which values, abilities and skills people should have who fulfill these roles within your organization. The abilities needed might actually change while transitioning from A to B which should be shown in the description of the role. A quality visualization helps you to change successfully by connecting the necessary abilities to the roles in the future state of your organization. 

The last step of a successful change according to the ADKAR model is Reinforcement. Reinforcement is about making the change last and incorporating it in the (new) way employees do their daily job from the change implementation on. A visualization of the new current state of an organisation helps people by showing them their own new way of working and the new way the organisation works from now on. After agreeing on the necessity of the change (Awareness, Desire) and learning the change (Knowledge, Ability) people can be held accountable to commit to this new reality. Employees can also use the new current state visualization to help them remember the change and what it means for them exactly.

I wrote this article because I feel that the importance of a solid change foundation is often overlooked in change management. When you want to implement a change within an organization I believe you need to know where you are first before you can decide where to go and how to get there. Starting with a change without understanding the true in depth current state of your organization will often lead to a failed change project because you need to know how the change will affect your operational reality to make the right decisions. 

- Will new software actually support operations or make things worse?

- How will this new way of working affect other departments? 

- What kind of information do people actually really need to do their job?

These kinds of questions related to change projects can only be answered if you know your true current state and you have a realistic view of your operations. That is why I wanted to share why a solid current state visualization is important, no matter which other change method you are already using. Using a change model like Prosci ADKAR gives you a good framework to implement a change, just do not forget to get a deep and realistic understanding of your organization’s current state first to increase your change of success.

Note: I picked the ADKAR model for this article because it is quite known, because of my previous Linkedin article and because of my own recent Prosci certification. This article however applies to almost every change model or method.