Written by 8:53 am Feature, Service Strategy

Understanding and applying effective Change Management: Part One – What is Change Management?

The case for implementing a modern field service solution is well documented, the benefits clear and tangible. However the road to a successful implementation is fraught with challenges. Over the next few weeks we will be exploring this topic across a number of features which are sponsored by ServiceMax

There is also a corresponding white paper on this subject which you can access by clicking this link and completing the brief registration form

There is no hiding from the reality that the implementation of a modern service management solution involves a major change within business, including shifts in both processes and culture, driven by the technology. Change is hard, and without proper understanding of your goals and the challenges you face, successfully managing it can be at best a complicated and drawn out process, at worst an abject failure.

In fact according to Change Management guru John Kotter, 70% of change management efforts fail and this is largely due to a lack of preparation, a lack of understanding of best practices or more often than not a combination of both.

However, at the heart of every successful change management exercise there is one maxim that holds absolutely true. Change Management is always about people.

Despite often being mistakenly pigeon holed amongst Project Management, which is more focussed on business protocol and processes, the key to good Change Management is understanding and confront the emotional and personal impact change can have on your workforce both on the individual as well as the company at large.

It is widely quoted that on average two thirds of employees are resistant to using a new system. So before we even begin to plan for change we must consider some of the fundamental reasons why our workforce would be so anti-change, if we are to succeed.For a start we must remember our workforce is made up a human beings, whilst this may seem like an obvious even condescending point to make, it is all to easy, especially in larger organisations to dehumanise the workforce, replacing names and personalities with numbers and statistics.

When focussing on the human aspect we can begin to understand the resistance we will face. It is our natural tendency to maximise reward and to minimise threat.

Sociology teaches us that there are five domains of social experience; status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness and fairness and when these are threatened we naturally resist change.

Inevitably an extensive change management exercise is going to impact on all five of these domains amongst your workforce so our goal cannot be to completely eliminate resistance, this would be an unrealistic and impossible task. Instead the intention should be to reduce the gap between introducing the change and full adoption of the change, thereby minimising the level of resistance faced and the duration that resistance lasts.

Research from McKenzie suggests organisations that utilise good change management best practices are likely to achieve 100% better business results through high employee adoption rates.

When it comes to implementing a new system across the workforce the stakes are absolutely huge, success can see significant improvements in productivity, efficiency and of course in the bottom line.

Failure can see value leakage resulting in a far longer time to see R.o.I (if at all) whilst simultaneously causing severe disruptions to the business as a whole. Put very simply there is an incredibly strong business case for making sure you get Change Management right.

Fortunately there are a number of differing resources that can be turned to, to help guide those who are undertaking such an operation. Some of which include:


Prosci, whose name comes from a combination of professional and science, is one of the leading Change Management organisations in the world and their methods are cited as being used by more than three quarters of the Fortune 100.

Founded in 1994 they offer both benchmarking research and change management products.

The tools implemented in Prosci’s methodology are based on research into best practice of over 3400 international organisations.

The Prosci methodology has become one of the most widely used approaches to managing the people side of change in business and government. At the heart of their methodology is the ADKAR model which first appeared in 1999 as an outcome-oriented approach to facilitate individual change.

The model has taken hold as a simple and effective Change Management method, which has become one of the most widely used models of its kind in the world.

Kotter International

Headed up by a New York Times best-selling author, business entrepreneur and Harvard Professor, Dr. John P. Kotter, Kotter International is another of the world’s leading Change Management firms.

Their 8-step change management process is based upon thirty years worth of work by Kotter and aims to offer a holistic approach to Change Management and incorporates eight overlapping steps.

The first three are all about creating a climate for change. The next on engaging and enabling the organisation and the last implementing and sustaining change.

It has been noted that successful change occurs when there is commitment, a sense of urgency or momentum, stakeholder engagement, openness, clear vision, good and clear communication, strong leadership, and a well executed plan and Kotter’s 8 Step plan utilises each of these.

Lewin’s Un-Freeze, Change, Refreeze model

Developed by physicist and social scientist Kurt Lewin in the 1950’s this model became a fundamental building block for organisational change management, The name of the model refers to the three stage process of change. The concept uses the analogy of a block of ice and transforming its shape from a block to a cone. First you must make the ice amenable to change (unfreezing it), then the ice must be moulded to the shape you desire (change). Finally you must solidify the the new shape (refreeze)

Therefore the first step in any successful change process must be to understand the reason for change. In Lewin’s own words “Motivation for change must be generated before change can occur. One must be helped to re-examine many cherished assumptions about oneself and one’s relations to others.”

Across the next few weeks we will be exploring the stages of change management in more detail looking at 5 specific stages as defined and implemented by Tycho’s Sharon Moura when they recently implemented ServiceMax’s field service management platform.

To download a copy of the white paper “5 principals of change management in field service click here and complete the brief registration form.

This series is sponsored by: