The change lies within yourself

14 December 2018

Change Management
digital transformation

A habit is hard to break. People are often reluctant to change. In an ever-evolving world, a company's capacity to change is crucial. With small or large changes, it is therefore important that enough attention is placed on those who have to put the change into practice. If they are not on board, the positive impact you had in mind for the change will be lost entirely.

When we change, we want something or someone to do something differently. It is precisely because we ask others to move away from what they feel is normal and go down an unknown path that this can come across as a threat. The only natural reaction is resistance. It is therefore vital to make every effort to detect and deal with such resistance at an early stage.

An organization doesn't change, individuals do

Suppose a company wants to switch from fixed phones to Skype for Business. On the one hand, this is a purely technical issue with three phases (design, develop and deliver) that can be successfully completed. On the other hand, there is the human side of transition, the users who must also accept and adopt Skype. Otherwise, you as a company have a solution that works perfectly, but the added value of which remains unused. Only when the two sides come together can you achieve the desired result.


Just like the technicians, users also have to go through a number of stages to be able to call the change successful. These steps are described in Prosci's ADKAR model.

  • Awareness: The user becomes aware that something is going to change. They learn the risks associated with not changing.
  • Desire: The user discovers the 'what's in it for me'; they have a desire to change.
  • Knowledge: The user receives training and learns about and how to use the new solution.
  • Ability: This is where the user goes from knowledge to skill. It is also a dangerous phase because people here still have a tendency to search for loopholes so that they can continue to do things the old way.
  • Reinforcement: The change must be reinforced. Afterwards you will measure the use (and the accompanying experiences) to determine if everyone has successfully adapted. It is also important to thank people for their efforts.

There must be room for feedback at every stage; one-way communication is out of the question. Only after going through these phases is the change truly anchored. What was once new has been effectively incorporated and will be continued, the novelty is gone and it becomes a habit.

Not as simple as it seems

Although the five phases seem reasonably obvious, a lack of user adoption is the cause of project failure in 70% of cases. Paying enough attention to change management can therefore seriously benefit the ROI of a change. Change management is therefore all activities and efforts to guide people through the five ADKAR phases. There is active reflection about the different steps required to get people engaged. After all, it is only through commitment that, rather than having to change, one changes oneself.

To get there, together!

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