Usage of the five levers of change management


The first tutorial in this series presented the five levers of change management in the Prosci 3-Phase Change Management Process: communications lever, sponsor roadmap lever, coaching lever, training lever and resistance management lever. This tutorial presents data from 192 change management practitioners who participated in Prosci Change Management Webinars on June 1 and June 2, 2011. Participants provided informative data on how they are using the five levers of change management through polls conducted during the webinars. The results may surprise you. At a minimum they should make you think about which tools you are using, and which you are neglecting.


Which levers do practitioners typically use?

During the webinar, attendees answered the following question: Which of the five levers do you typically create in a change management engagement? Attendees could check any or all of the five levers. The results from nearly 200 webinar participants are shown below.


Not surprisingly, most attendees typically create a communications plan (88% of attendees) and a training plan (77%). What is surprising is the rapid drop-off between these two levers and the other three levers. Just over one quarter of attendees (27%) created a sponsor roadmap, and less than one in five created a resistance management plan (18%) or a coaching plan (12%).

The primary concern here is that those in the organization who are the face and voice of change – namely senior leaders, managers and supervisors – are not being effectively supported with sponsor roadmaps and coaching plans. These groups are routinely identified as critical success factors, preferred senders of change messages and in the best position to reinforce change. But their involvement seems to be expected or assumed rather than architected.

Takeaway: Change management practitioners can be more successful by building a holistic approach that uses all five levers. Plans aimed at creating more active and visible involvement by senior leaders, managers and supervisors ensure that employees are hearing and seeing what they need to from leaders in the organization. The Prosci 3-Phase Change Management Process provides structure, tools and templates for creating all five change management levers and can be particularly valuable for creating the levers that change management practitioners tend to neglect or overlook.



How many levers are used?

In addition to the raw data on tool usage, another informative conclusion can be drawn by analyzing how many levers each webinar attendee marked as being typically used. The results of this analysis are found in the graph below.



Very few webinar attendees reported using all five levers (3%) and only slightly more reported using four of the levers (7%). Over one quarter of attendees used only a single lever (26%). Most attendees reported using two of the five levers available in the change management toolbox (40%). The dark portion of the “2 levers” bar represents those who reported specifically using only the communications plan and the training plan (35%)

Change management practitioners are rarely utilizing the complete set of levers available in the Prosci 3-Phase Change Management Process. Whether it is time, budget or support considerations, practitioners are not being as complete as they could in their approach to help employees embrace and adopt change.

Takeaway: Use all of the levers you have at your disposal. Each lever uniquely contributes to successful change. Not utilizing all of the levers leaves certain aspects of change to chance and puts at risk the project outcomes and results.