Change Management Process

Stan Garfield
8 min readJun 26, 2018

Originally published on February 15, 2017

22nd in a series of 50 Knowledge Management Components (Slide 30 in KM 102)

Management of change: developing a planned approach to change in an organization to address anticipated obstacles and to ensure successful adoption

There are varying schools of thought about the value of change management. Some believe that it is an essential part of any KM initiative. Others dismiss it as an obsolete concept. Most KM initiatives will involve significant changes to the existing behaviors, processes, and systems, so it is useful to create a change management plan.

All KM initiatives are change initiatives. — Jean Claude Monney

The value of change management is that it forces you to consciously deal with the changes that will be required to enable knowledge management to succeed. If you fail to do so, and proceed to implement new people, process, and technology components with inadequate preparation, conditioning of the organization, and communication, then the new components may not be adopted as expected.

Changing existing processes and tools, and introducing new ones, are the key change elements to plan for. Analyze the potential impact of these changes, and plan to explain to the users how they will benefit, what their roles will be in implementing the changes, and how you will help them through the changes.

Steps to Follow

  1. Develop a KM Management of Change plan and help implement it. It should be part of the KM Implementation Plan and the overall plan of record.
  2. Ask communities of practice for advice and to help with change management. Listen to what the members have to say, and then follow through with their suggestions. Enlist their leaders and members to help communicate about upcoming changes.
  3. There may be resources within your organization to assist you in developing and implementing a change management plan. If so, take advantage of these. If not, there are books and consultants who can help see the lists below). Engage these resources to ensure that you have a viable plan and have considered the implications of your KM initiative and how the organization will have to adapt in order to embrace it.
  4. If the culture of the organization does not include sharing and collaboration, a significant management of change initiative will be needed to start changing the culture. Start by reviewing the published values, and then compare these to the observed culture. If they are not consistent, your initiative will need to address aligning corporate culture to the stated core values. If the culture is a mixture of positive and negative elements, you will want to use the positive ones to support your efforts, and use a change management process to address the impact of the negative ones. Help the culture and values of the organization evolve to support knowledge management.
  5. To enable knowledge-related actions, it is helpful to provide incentives and rewards to your targeted users to encourage the desired behaviors. When introducing a change initiative, some believe that rewards can yield short-term results, but that the effects wear off over time. I have seen them work very effectively.
  6. For any change initiative, all stakeholders will want to know what’s in it for them. To help them understand the benefits for them personally, and for the organization overall, answer the following questions:
  • Why should we implement a KM program? Articulate your vision.
  • What are the benefits? Select from the list of benefits and tie these to your organization.
  • How will it help our organization accomplish its key objectives? Tie the top 3 objectives to the organization’s overall priorities.
  • How will our organization improve as a result? Make the business case.
  • How will our people’s needs, opportunities, and challenges be met? Explain the compelling use cases.


Although there are many specialized change management methods and techniques, multiple components and approaches should be used in the management of change.

People Components

Most of the people components can be applied to the management of change. Instilling a knowledge-sharing culture with positive values is enabled through the work of knowledge managers, employee surveys, social networks, communities, training, documentation, communications, user assistance, goals, and rewards.

Process Components

Several of the process components are also useful, including methodologies, social network analysis, appreciative inquiry, and storytelling.

  1. Most Significant Change is the collection of significant change stories emanating from the field level, and the systematic selection of the most significant of these stories by panels of designated stakeholders or staff. Once changes have been captured, various people sit down together, read the stories aloud and have regular and often in-depth discussions about the value of these reported changes.
  2. World Café is an intentional way to create a living network of conversation around questions that matter. It is a creative process for leading collaborative dialogue, sharing knowledge, and creating possibilities for action in groups of all sizes.
  3. Social Network Analysis (SNA) was used by the leaders of one company when they wanted to break down geographic barriers and become a more global organization. They hoped to informally enlist influential employees to assist with change management, but first they had to identify which employees were most connected with others and who did the most to forge relationships across locations. SNA allowed them to do this.
  4. Appreciative Inquiry can be applied in management of change. Lynne Levesque states, “Appreciative Inquiry is not only an incredibly useful tool for change management; it is also applicable as a good coaching practice. Leaders who use probing questions in an appreciative mode that generates collaborative learning will see long-lasting behavior changes.”
  5. Storytelling can be used to manage change. Almost all forms of narrative are useful in the management of change, including motivating others to action, building trust, transmitting values, getting others working together, taming the grapevine, and creating and sharing a vision.


1. Prosci

Change management is the discipline that guides how we prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully adopt change in order to drive organizational success and outcomes. While all changes are unique and all individuals are unique, decades of research shows there are actions we can take to influence people in their individual transitions. Change management provides a structured approach for supporting the individuals in your organization to move from their own current states to their own future states.

2. Mind Tools

Change management is a structured approach for ensuring that changes are thoroughly and smoothly implemented, and that the lasting benefits of change are achieved. The focus is on the wider impacts of change, particularly on people and how they, as individuals and teams, move from the current situation to the new one. The change in question could range from a simple process change, to major changes in policy or strategy needed if the organization is to achieve its potential.

3. 10 Principles of Change Management by John Jones, DeAnne Aguirre, and Matthew Calderone

  1. Address the human side systematically.
  2. Start at the top.
  3. Involve every layer.
  4. Make the formal case.
  5. Create ownership.
  6. Communicate the message.
  7. Assess the cultural landscape.
  8. Address culture explicitly.
  9. Prepare for the unexpected.
  10. Speak to the individual.

4. The Hard Side of Change Management by Harold Sirkin, Perry Keenan, and Alan Jackson

Our study revealed a consistent correlation between the outcomes (success or failure) of change programs and four hard factors: project duration, particularly the time between project reviews; performance integrity, or the capabilities of project teams; the commitment of both senior executives and the staff whom the change will affect the most; and the additional effort that employees must make to cope with the change. We called these variables the DICE factors because we could load them in favor of projects’ success.

5. 7 Lessons for Getting Change Right by Seth Kahan

  1. Communicate so people get it and spread it.
  2. Identify and energize your most valuable players.
  3. Understand the territory of change.
  4. Accelerate evolution through communities.
  5. Blow through bottlenecks and logjams.
  6. Create dramatic surges in progress.
  7. Keep your focus when change comes fast.

6. Learning from The Best: Change Management by Yasmin Parsloe

  1. Phase 1: Preparing for the change.
  2. Phase 2: Managing change.
  3. Phase 3: Reinforcing change.

Knowledge Nuggets from my book Proven Practices for Promoting a Knowledge Management Program

  1. Dean Testa of Goodyear states that KM itself is a change initiative, so don’t be afraid to change your KM program.
  2. John Hovell, who works for a large defense contractor, says that change management is a large portion of the work. It’s important to notice how different people are intrinsically motivated in different ways. Often, it’s about creating an environment where people feel included in the design and progress of the work. It’s also important to spend more time getting clear collective understanding of the problem, as opposed to spending more time in solution design and implementation mode.
  3. Jean-Claude Monney of Microsoft Services suggests that to educate people, make them part of the change. Eliminate the us versus them approach, where what is projected is that we know and you don’t. You need to create systems to reward people for the desired behavior, using a formal adoption and change process. Change management it is not a line item in the KM effort — it is the effort. Microsoft uses the ADKAR© approach: awareness, desire, knowledge, ability to change, and reinforcement of the change. In Jean-Claude’s team, he has a person certified in this methodology who defines strategy and implementation plans for all new process changes. Senior management constantly talks about it, repeating it several times. When people hear it from management, it transforms the culture, making it real.
  4. Ed Hoffman, formerly of NASA, made extensive use of change management techniques. He made sure to talk about two or three new things and point to them as accomplishments. He created a chart showing progress made since 2010, because NASA liked to see milestones achieved.


1. HP

2. Deloitte


  1. European Guide to good Practice in Knowledge Management — Part 1: Knowledge Management Framework — KM implementation and Change Management framework
  2. Change Management Toolbook by Holger Nauheimer
  3. Confident Change Management by Rob Bogue
  4. Change Management Learning Center
  5. Prosci Tools & Resources
  6. Emerald Insight
  7. Life Cycle Engineering
  9. Project Management Institute
  10. Nonprofit Technology Network
  11. Harvard Business Review
  12. MIT
  17. LinkedIn
  18. Changing Minds
  19. Lean Change Management
  20. Change Management Institute
  21. Change Management Resource Guide
  22. Change Management — Plan, Implement, Communicate, Measure, Involve
  23. Guide to Managing Change
  24. Torben Rick
  25. Change Management Consulting Blog by LSA Global
  26. Holger Nauheimer
  27. Mary Abraham
  28. APQC Blog
  29. APQC
  30. Shawn Callahan
  31. Chris Collison
  32. Steve Denning
  33. Nancy Dixon
  34. David Griffiths
  35. Patrick Lambe
  36. Guy St. Clair
  37. Eight Common Misperceptions of Management of Change by Sam McNair
  38. Leading Change: 6 Reasons Change Management Strategies Fail by Brent Gleeson
  39. 10 Change-Management Strategies That Are Backed By Science by Carol Kinsey Goman
  40. 3 Stages Of Successful Change Management by Mark Murphy
  41. Change Management Requires Leadership Clarity and Alignment by Glenn Llopis
  42. The psychology of change management by Emily Lawson and Colin Price
  43. Challenges of Change Management interview with Steve Barth
  44. An overall approach to change management by DeAnne Aguirre, Gary Neilson, and Andrew Tipping
  45. Communication in Change Management by Susan Heathfield
  46. The incrementalism fallacy in KM change by Nick Milton
  47. Change Management or Change Leadership? by Dave Snowden
  48. Create the demand to participate by Dave Snowden
  49. Towards a new theory of change by Dave Snowden
  50. When Context Transcends Change Management by Luis Suarez


  1. LinkedIn Change Management Forum
  2. ACMP Connect
  3. Change Management Community of Practice: A fast track to enterprise change management competency by Life Cycle Engineering


  1. Google
  2. Amazon
  3. ReadyToManage
  4. Goodreads
  5. Prosci


  1. APMG International
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Association for Change Management Professionals (ACMP)

Consulting Service Providers

  1. Accenture
  2. Deloitte
  3. KPMG
  4. McKinsey
  5. PwC



Stan Garfield

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager