ITLA XVIII | Road Map | Organizational Change | Toolkit
Research | Infrastructure Consolidation | FAQ | Appendix

Organizational Change


What happens when a department has completed consolidating its e-mail, infrastructure, data center and service offerings? Is the consolidation complete? What about the most important piece of any consolidation effort – the people?

With the implementation of California Assembly Bill 2408 and the adoption of a Federated Data Model for California’s Information Technology (IT) environment, departments are finding that the Infrastructure Consolidation Program (ICP) initiatives are driving operational changes to the management and delivery of their IT services. The operational changes may lead to the restructuring of IT organizations, re-skilling and re-tooling staff and the development of new processes.

This document outlines how to establish a framework for success, how to meet overall objectives, and how to create an environment receptive to change and ready to move forward through the use of an Organizational Change Management methodology.

Organizational Change Management

So what is Organizational Change Management (OCM)? OCM is the effective management of a business change such that executives, managers, and front line employees work in order to successfully implement process, technology, or organizational changes. The goal of OCM is to implement business changes with minimal impact on productivity, unnecessary turnover or loss of valued staff, as well as elimination of any adverse impact on customers.

How Do I Start?

You know that change needs to happen but you don’t really know how to go about delivering it. Where do you start? Whom do you involve? How do you see it through to the end?

Achieving organizational change requires consultation with and involvement of the people affected by the changes. These aspects are especially relevant to managing personal change – the most important aspect to any organizational change management effort. Before starting any change, ask yourself:

  • What do we want to achieve with this change?
  • Why and how will we know that the change has been achieved?
  • Who is affected by the change and how will they react to it?
  • How much of this change can we achieve ourselves and what parts of the change do we need help with?

In any change management effort, have an understanding of the following principles:

  • At all times involve and gain support from people within your organization (environment, processes, culture, relationships, behaviors – whether they are personal or organizational).
  • Understand where you and your organization are currently.
  • Understand where you want to be, when, why, and what the measures will be for having gotten there.
  • Develop a plan for your organization using the understanding of your future state and the previously defined measures to determine achievements and successes.
  • Communicate, involve, enable, and facilitate involvement from people (staff and management), early, often, and as fully as possible.

Lastly, responsibility for managing change lies with the managers and executives within an organization. Each manager has a responsibility to facilitate and enable change, and then to help their employees understand the reasons and goals of the change.

“There was a lot of concern to let’s do this the right way. We are going to make this big change so let’s invest the time, let’s get the right people working on this, and let’s get the right processes in place.” – Lee Macklin, Enterprise Technology and Portfolio Manager, CDCR

The Road To Change

There are several different OCM methodologies that can be followed to complete a transformation effort. There are three methodologies that are most common. The first one has been developed by John Kotter and is outlined in his book Leading Change. The second one has been developed by Prosci, an independent research company in the field of change management and is defined through tutorials available at The third one has been developed by Leslie Allan and is outlined in his book Managing Change in the Workplace.

Phase 1: Getting Ready

The first phase of an organizational transformation initiative prepares a department for the OCM effort and builds the foundation for the remaining phases. Steps in this phase provide the building blocks of the foundation.

Step 1.1. Visualize Where You Want to Be

The first step is to visualize the department’s end-state. Ask the following questions:

  • What are the targeted outcomes?
  • How do you know when they are complete?

Prosci provides an excellent exercise that connects change management to business results. It provides a framework to define the people changes required by identifying the Project, the Purpose (why we are changing), the Particulars (what we are changing), and the People (who are changing). It is called the P-P-P-P Exercise. This exercise is the first step in determining the scope of a change management effort.

Step 1.2. Develop a Vision

The second step is the development of a vision. The vision provides a picture of the future. Kotter suggests that a good vision serves three important purposes: it clarifies the general direction for change; it motivates people to take action in the right direction; and it helps coordinate the actions of different people. He states that an effective vision guides employees and conveys which actions are important.

Step 1.3. Get Executive Sponsors

The third step is to confirm executive sponsorship. Prosci states that active and visual executive sponsorship is central to success of an OCM project. Leaders of an OCM project need executive sponsorship to ensure that there are enough dollars and resources, priorities are established for competing priorities, senior management is on board with the change, and managers who resist the change have a forum to resolve their objections. Prosci provides a sponsorship checklist to use in determining if a change effort has the needed sponsorship.

Step 1.4. Find a Team of Leaders

The final step of this phase is the identification of a team that can lead and manage the effort. This is the most important building block in an OCM project foundation. Kotter suggests in order to lead change, you need to bring together a coalition, or team, of influential people whose power comes from a variety of sources, including job title, status, expertise, and political importance. Do not rely on the traditional organizational hierarchy to find your change leaders; they are throughout your organization – people generally do not follow titles, they follow leaders.

Allan has identified five ingredients necessary for team success in his Teams Table©. The five ingredients are:

T  argets – Agreement on objectively measurable goals
E  motional Intelligence – Emotional self-control, able to empathize with and inspire others
A  uthority – Sufficient authority and influence
M otivation – Self-motivated toward achieving the common goals
S  kills – Personal and interpersonal skills required to build and maintain the team

Constructing the right team, and combining a level of trust with shared goals that the team believes in, result in a guiding coalition that has the capacity to make needed change happen. It also takes strong leadership. Managing change isn't enough – you have to lead it.

The Road To Change - Phase 2

Phase 2: Managing (and Leading) the Organizational Transformation

OCM has two perspectives – the implementer view (managers and executives) and the recipient view (employees). The implementer view is focused on the strategies, plans, and communications. The recipient view focuses on coaching employees to understand their role and decisions they make as they navigate through the process.

The second phase of an organizational transformation initiative is the most critical – it involves communicating with employees, gaining their commitment, empowering them to make the changes and celebrating the successes. Steps in this phase are: the development of the framework for the organizational transformation; the implementation of the plans; and recognizing successes that move the organization forward.

Step 2.1. Develop the Framework

This step defines and develops the plans for the organizational transformation initiative. When this step is complete, a change management plan tailored to your department will be ready for implementation.

Step 2.1.1. Establish a Baseline

A baseline is a survey that captures where the department is currently and identifies the starting point for any initiative. Establishing a baseline allows a department to measure how successful they are during the transformation and when it is complete.

Not every department will start their organizational transformation on the same level. Some departments will already be aligned with the Infrastructure Consolidation Program and some may not have started working on them at all.

Step 2.1.2. Set Goals and Objectives

Setting goals and objectives makes change management planning easier and defines the success criteria for the transformation initiative. Allan states involving stakeholders in the development of the goals and objectives motivates them to walk that extra mile for the initiative when times get tough. Allan also suggests starting with SMART goals (Strategic, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time framed), broken down in to manageable chunks, allows employees to develop detailed strategies for achieving them.

Step 2.1.3. Define Performance Measurements

Performance measurements allow a department to track how successful they are at various checkpoints during the transformation initiative. Development of a Performance Plan identifies the preferred results, how they tie to the organization, how they are weighted, measured and evaluated. The preferred results come from the goals and objectives defined in the previous step. A Performance Plan will also help define when to celebrate the successes.

Step 2.1.4. Develop Plans

Plans are the tools that support the employees through the changes of how they do their jobs. Prosci has identified five organizational change management plans that are the “levers” of an organizational transformation. They are:

  1. Communication Plan
  2. Executive Sponsor/Stakeholder Roadmap
  3. Coaching Plan
  4. Training Plan
  5. Resistance Management Plan

Communication Plan

Effective communication is the cornerstone for exposing all levels of departmental staff to the transformation initiative. Prosci states that effective communication means that the plan includes the right messages, in the correct format, from the right sender at the right time for each of the audiences impacted by the change.

A Communication Plan identifies the audience, topics, key issues and messages, and the communication method and time frame The purpose of any communication is to make staff aware of the changes and to get their support for the change.

Executive Sponsor/Stakeholder Roadmap

Committed sponsors and stakeholders are the major contributors to the success of a transformation initiative. Prosci’s research shows that 62% of the communications should come from senior management and immediate managers. Involved sponsors demonstrate to employees that there is commitment from the top for the change – a critical component for employee buy-in. An executive sponsor/stakeholder roadmap (FILE MISSING) identifies what a sponsor needs to do with the implementation team, the front line employees, and other senior managers. The tasks identified in the roadmap allow them to be seen as participating in the effort, building a coalition of support with other senior staff, and communicating with employees about the reasons for the change as well as why the changes are needed.

Coaching Plan

Communication between a manager and their employees plays a critical role in successful organizational transformation. Managers communicate about the change and how it impacts an employee. Their attitude and willingness to participate in the change affect how an employee views the change. Coaching involves a manager working with employees to identify and remove resistance to change and provide recognition and reinforcement during implementation of the transformation. Prosci suggests a Coaching Plan should outline the steps for involving managers in change management activities, including how the implementation team will build commitment from them and how they will gain their employees’ commitment for the transition.

Training Plan

The Training Plan is used to build skills and capabilities in both the implementers and viewers. The first piece of the Training Plan details the training needs for sponsors and managers related to their roles and responsibilities in the transformation initiative. The second piece of the Training Plan details what training employees may need to fill in the “gap” between what they know and what they need to know in their new role. A needs assessment and gap analysis are important tools to identify what will need to be included in the Training Plan.

Resistance Management Plan

The development of a Resistance Management Plan helps to identify the steps that can be taken to prevent or mitigate resistance before it happens. Start by determining what resistance may look like and where it will come from. Next, develop steps that can be taken to answer the objections. The plan should also identify who will be managing the resistance and how they will be prepared. Lastly, determine how to monitor acceptance versus resistance by developing triggers that can be used to find out if there is significant resistance and how to respond to the triggers.

Step 2.2. Plan Implementation

Making the organization aware of the transformation, gaining their commitment, and providing the tools and skills to make the change are pieces of the second step of Phase 2. It involves all members of a department – from senior management to individual employees.

“There were the normal concerns by staff…anytime you move from organization to another – how am I going to fit in, what’s my new duties, how is my job going to change…is my stress going to go up or down… I going to like my new manager – you have those typical issues of any redirection of an organization… .” – Lee Macklin, Enterprise Technology and Portfolio Manager, CDCR

Step 2.2.1. Communicate and Gain Commitment

Making employees aware of the need for the transformation initiative (communicating the vision) and creating commitment (desire) are identified by both Kotter and Prosci as building blocks needed for a successful change. These help an employee understand why the change is needed and then allow the employee to make the personal choice to participate. Communication comes from senior management and immediate supervisors.

Effectively communicating the vision and creating commitment involve:

  • A simple message – communicate specifics (why, what, actions planned); explain it in five minutes; make it sensible to the mind and appealing to the heart; target the audience; and repeat, repeat, repeat
  • The use of metaphors, analogies, and examples – engaging stories, numerical information, charts, cartoons, humor, demonstrations, and simulations
  • The use of multiple communication forums – large and small group meetings, memos, e-mails, posters, videos, internal websites, informal one-on-ones, newsletters
  • Leadership by example – communicate the new direction through behavior
  • Addressing inconsistencies – if behavior does not align with the message, explain why, and do so honestly
  • Two-way communication – involve employees in the development of the solution; include supervisors from the start

Step 2.2.2. Enable and Empower

Both Prosci and Kotter state that helping employees become more powerful allows them to assist with the transformation initiative. Major transformation does not happen without engaged and empowered people.

Enabling employees to become more powerful involves:

  • Providing needed training – changing behavior, skills, and attitude is needed to support the transformation initiative; communicate a training message as “this course is being provided to help with your new responsibilities.”
  • Removing organizational structure barriers – modify the organizational structure (org charts) to align with the vision
  • Allowing employees to make changes in their area - encourage educated risk-taking, innovative ideas that fit within the vision
  • Making structures compatible with the vision – change culture/systems to fit the new vision
  • Dealing with naysayers – open an honest dialogue that communicates the vision; what is needed from them and what can be done to get them to help with the effort
  • Creating a feedback loop – allow feedback, both positive and negative

Step 2.3. Celebrate the Successes

Prosci and Kotter identify that celebrations of short-term wins allow the “changes to stick” and reinforce that the change efforts are worthwhile.

Short-term performance improvements help in the following ways:

  • Provide evidence that sacrifices are worth it – they help justify the costs involved and show the sacrifices are paying off
  • Reward employees – positive feedback builds morale and motivation
    Help fine-tune vision and strategies – provide data related to the viability of ideas related to the vision
  • Undermine cynics and naysayers – improvements in performance make it difficult for people to block change
  • Keep bosses on board – provide evidence to senior management that the transformation is on track
  • Build momentum – bring more employees on board

Celebrations can be as small as a “thank you” from a supervisor to an employee, to recognition by senior level sponsors, or as large as a celebration for all employees. Any success can be celebrated!

The Road To Change - Phase 3

Phase 3: Incorporating Change into the Culture

The final phase of a transformational initiative is ensuring long-term success by incorporating the new behaviors and practices into the departmental culture. Kotter and Prosci both indicate that seeing the transformation’s professional and departmental successes create the culture changes.

Step 3.1. Building on Successes

The future of the organization is within reach – don’t declare victory and move on. At this step, the transformation initiative should be able to:

  • Use credibility from short-term wins to take on additional change projects
  • Empower employees to take on more responsibilities and make decisions
  • Consistently point to successes as proof that the new way is working
  • Have senior management continue to communicate the shared purpose of the effort
  • Have lower level managers provide leadership for specific projects
  • Identify business process inefficiencies and eliminate them

It is imperative that the leaders continue to launch additional initiatives that incorporate the changes into the culture. Until the changes become a part of the culture, the transformation initiative can stall.

Step 3.2. Incorporating New Behaviors and Practices into the Culture

A change is kept in place by creating a new, supportive and strong organizational culture. Culture changes when:

  • It comes last, not first – Culture changes only after employees see the connection between the new actions and the improvements.
  • The results show it – Change happens when it clear the new processes work and are superior to the old ones
  • It is talked about – Verbal instruction and support allow people to admit the new practices work

Cultural change works best when it comes last – not first.


The State of California, through the ICP Workgroups, is introducing organizational change to IT organizations. Each department will need to move from a “current state” to a “future state”. OCM provides the structure, processes and tools for encouraging and supporting employees through the transition to the “future state”. Understanding that a successful organizational transformation initiative is about changing how people do work, step back from the effort and see if employees are doing their job differently. If they are, you have succeeded.

“Keep chipping away at the roadmap…but if you don’t have the roadmap, you’ll never get there…all roads lead to everywhere if you don’t know where you are going.” – Lee Macklin, Enterprise Technology and Portfolio Manager, CDCR