CHANGE MANAGEMENT: IS PROSCI DEAD?

by | Wednesday, December 30th, 2015
The Intersection of Lean Startup, Design Thinking, and Agile

PROSCI change management methodology has been widely used in both private and public sectors to manage “the people side of change.” The methodology is based on three phases: (1) PREPARING FOR CHANGE READINESS, (2) MANAGING CHANGE, and (3) REINFORCING CHANGE. But PROSCI is fast becoming a relic – an outdated methodology based on old school management and business strategy perspectives that should be deemed obsolete.

HERE’S WHY…

Change has become much more multi-faceted. In today’s fast-paced, fiercely competitive world — a volatile world where ambiguity and fluctuation abound with an ever-accelerating rate of technology adoption — change is inevitable and constant. All organizations change, regardless of whether employees are “prepared and ready.”

Executives and HR managers can’t prod or coax people to change and they can’t afford to wait until employees are “prepared and ready” for change. Neither can they merely be content to “manage” change; they need to be ahead of it. Implementing a three-phase change management control process, project workstream, and checklist will leave you the equivalent of three (or more) phases behind in the dust, struggling to recover pace.

IF PROSCI’S DEAD, WHAT’S NEXT?

Beyond communicating a clear vision, allocating the right resources, and aligning performance management systems, the key to successful organizational change is removing barriers and creating circumstances in which employees’ inherent motivation and drive is freed and channeled toward achievable goals. Doing so requires a shift in perspective; where employees are not merely informed about change or trained to manage/handle change but rather deemed to be an integral active component of the entire change equation.

Instead of managing change, you need to lead through change and create it. “Change management” has shifted to “change leadership.” You need to recognize that in today’s brave new world, every employee — top to bottom in your organization — is a change agent and a valued member of your “continuous change team.” As are your customers.

MORE STRATEGIC METHODOLOGY OBSOLESCENCE

When it comes to strategic methodology obsolescence, anyone who professes to have the silver bullet solution in today’s volatile, uncertain world is selling you a half-sighted, flawed manifesto. For instance: practicing lean startup without acknowledging/integrating aspects of design thinking, agile, stage gate, and other “best practice” methodologies will only impede your company’s capacity to innovate and create what’s next.

An organization’s ability to adapt and integrate MULTIPLE strategic methodologies — or better yet customize their own approach based on their company’s unique capabilities, current environment, and future market potential — will define its ultimate competitive advantage.

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Kirsten Osolind is a brand and business reinvention strategist with executive team transition and M&A due diligence / brand integration experience. A former Fortune 100 executive, she has worked for four of the world’s most innovative companies according to Fortune Magazine™ as well as advised numerous middle market and venture-backed growth stage companies.

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