Change Management Value – Start with the End in Mind

By | December 27, 2016

Does the success of your project depend on employee adoption and usage? Are you interested in learning more about how you will create additional value for your project by focusing on employee adoption and usage? Let me challenge you with new ways to focus on Change Management Value.


Does This Thinking Sound Familiar?

You have invested a lot of time, resources and money to develop a new process. You have brought in a project manager and assigned resources to build a robust project team. There is no doubt that you will be successful in developing the new process. At the project end date, your project manager will go onto the next project, your subject matter experts will return to their regular roles and your money was well spent. But wait, you have spent all this time and money but your employees have not adopted the new change and are not using the new process!

New Thinking – Start With the End in Mind!

You are halfway there in your thinking by focusing on the “technical” side of change. If you want to achieve complete benefit realization and move way beyond the halfway point, you likely want people to follow the new process. You cannot realize the benefits of your new process if no one uses it. You will want your employees to embrace, adopt and proficiently use the new process and this is when you will truly start to realize the benefits of your investment…return on investment (ROI).

Interested in the Integration of Project Management and Change Management – CLICK ON THIS IMAGE!


Think About Change Management Return on Investment (CMROI)!

The value of Change Management is found when a change becomes part of how your employees do their job. What CEO will not pay attention when they can see how their Return on Investment is truly realized…by focusing on how well the people side of change is managed – this is CMROI!

Closer Look at Change Management ROI – Engage With the Senior Leaders

The value of change management is directly related to how dependent a project’s benefits are on adoption and usage. Have a conversation with the Senior Leaders to determine their response to each of the following questions:

  1. Will few or most of the employees be impacted by the change?
  2. Will few or many areas of work be impacted?
  3. Will the change impact one location or multiple locations?
  4. Does the change represent a large shift from the current to the future state?
  5. Will the change occur in small steps or in one big step?
  6. Will the new process be similar to the current process or will it look much different?
  7. What is the expected  benefit of the project?
  8. What will happen if employees do not use the new process?

This conversation is huge for you as the change management practitioner and for the senior leaders! Why do I say this? You will have a much understanding of how to guide the change management effort and enhance benefits realization. By providing the answers to these questions, senior leaders are part of the change management conversation and, together, you are a team to focus on the “people side” of this change. The value of change management is truly found through the power of “conversation!”

What is the “change management” conversation?

Does it need to start with a definition of change management? If it does, I depend on Prosci for its definition: “the application of a structured process and set of tools for leading the people side of change to achieve a desire outcome.”

But what does this really mean in a conversation? For my change management conversations, I focus on how change management positively impacts benefit realization and the achievement of desired results and outcomes of the change. As already mentioned, I talk about starting with the end in mind which should be – how much does benefits realization depend on employee adoption and usage of the change? This conversation will form the foundation for the focus of the people side of change.

Easiest Way to Describe Change Management?

Try using this when you engage with Senior Leaders and watch them pay attention…focusing on the people side of change is the best way to ensure the benefits realization and increase the ROI of a project! Recognition of the connection between the people who are expected to embrace and implement a change and the realization of the desired outcomes of the change rounds out the description of change management.

One More Tool for the Change Management Conversation!

Let me share a tool I always use from my toolkit to show that the more effect the change management effort is, the more likely it is that the project outcomes will be met or exceed and you guessed it…the ROI arrow points way up. This tool (Prosci) is the final piece of the CMROI!

5.1 CM on Project Objectives.png

One More Conversation Suggestion…Repeat 5 – 7 Times!

As a Change Management Practitioner, I remind Senior Leaders that organizational change requires individual change. Individuals change occurs differently, at different speeds and change management plans must recognize the importance of focusing on individual change. In my experience, this focus can make a difference in how the benefits are realized. Research indicates that we often need to hear a message 5 – 7 times before we pay attention. Senior Leaders are no different and that is why, in this blog, I have continued to repeat that if people do not embrace and adopt change, the ROI will be fully realized.

Putting it all Together…Beginning With the End in Mind!

The value of change management (CMROI) is realized when the majority of people impacted by a change embraces, adopts and uses the new process. When this is the outcome, the ROI is increased and let’s not forget the technical side – the project outcomes are met, the project finishes on time and the project finishes within its budget.


Please share and let me know if you have any questions or would like to leave a comment. I would love to hear what you think.

Best regards,



2 thoughts on “Change Management Value – Start with the End in Mind

  1. People, not Objects!

    The content of your How To Lead Organizational Change Today is excellent, Miles! I’m a former Minister of Christian Education. I’ve worked with hundreds of volunteer leaders for 32 years. Organizational leadership was one of my primary tasks.

    You are correct that effective organization change requires buy in from individuals within the organization. I learned quickly that you don’t enter an organizational environment and begin throwing your weight around by making changes.

    For one thing, it takes time for a new leader to become an accepted part of the environment. And this has everything to do with the importance of trust being a requisite for building and developing relationships.

    I love the questions you have listed that you use with senior leadership! I wish I had those questions when I worked with leaders. Effective leadership begins at the top and buy in needs to filter throughout all levels of an organization.

    Additionally, leaders must know where they are headed, and more importantly, why! If a leader cannot communicate why change is needed, he/she does not have clarity of mind and may confuse others rather than build support.

    Are you familiar with the Arbinger Institute? Their premise is that breakthrough results are only possible through a change in mindset. The key is treating employees as people, rather than as objects! Arbinger’s resource books are excellent – Leadership and Self-Deception, The Outward Mindset, and The Anatomy of Peace.

    I couldn’t help but recognize a parallel in thought in your post and the values taught at Arbinger. You’ve hit the nail on the head!

    Again, excellent post! Thanks!

    1. admin

      Thanks so much for your detailed comment. You and I are on the same page! I will take your recommendation and check out Arbinger’s resource books: Leadership and Self-Deception, The Outward Mindset, and The Anatomy of Peace.

      It sounds like you are as passionate as I am on this topic.

      Let’s stay in touch…I can only learn more from your thoughts and your experience.

      All the best,



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