3 Steps To Effective Change Management

By L Reed

February 21, 2017   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

steps to effective change management

Have you ever watched the movie Moneyball?

The lead character Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, pressed forward in his plans to re-create the Oakland A’s baseball team. He pursued this goal with a single-minded determination, stating continuously, “It’s a process, It’s a process.”

Billy understood that in deconstructing the old way of doing things, you create the potential to build a new way. The story of Billy Beane is an example of how a systematic process can change the way you play the game. Following through from beginning to end is the key.

Research from Prosci indicates that “projects with excellent change management effectiveness are six times more likely to meet or exceed project objectives.” Completing the process improves not only the bottom line. It also builds trust and maintains continuity within the organization, thus reducing chaos within the organization.

Three Steps to Create an Effective Plan for Change

Use these steps as a template to create any new plan or goal. Change introduces the opportunity for an intentional plan that keeps the process moving forward.

These three steps may seem simple, but one misstep in any part of the process fractures the flow of the work. How many times have you seen a plan fall apart because there was no follow through on the goals?


The first step in any process for change begins with an awareness of the situation. Awareness can come in many forms: the awareness that something needs to change, an awareness that there is a problem, or even an awareness that something just does not feel right.

As Claire Hartman, President of First Community Title in Temple, TX stated, “There was something I needed to work on from a professional standpoint, but I wasn’t sure how to get there. It was also personal. I could tell something was a little broken, but I couldn’t figure out how or what it was or even conceive how to look for what it was. It was a gut feeling. I didn’t know where to go.”

Awareness generates an opening for change.

Once you have created an awareness for change, then you start to look at the broader view and the available options. I sometimes call this the fantasyland view because, now, all things are possible.

Fantasyland view equals brainstorming. You explore all the possibilities, even the ones outside of your comfort zone. If you don’t expand your awareness of opportunities and issues, then you may miss options that change the way you accomplish business for the better.

Categorize both facts, which are verifiable and expectations, which are personal/organizational beliefs of what one wishes were true. The activity of awareness moves you into the second part, which is words.


Words allows you to start putting form to fantasy. Words offer a place in the process where judgments of good or bad, or right or wrong do not exist. Talk about or write out all the possibilities that began to emerge with the first step of awareness. Confirm verifiable facts versus beliefs, which may differ from person to person within the group. With words, you create a plan for what you want to do and how you want to proceed.

management words

The second phase offers individuals the opportunity to discuss ideas and encourages creativity or innovation. If the words, “We have always done it that way” are uttered in this step, then you may need to take yourself or others in the group back to the awareness stage.

Fantasyland narrows into feasible options for what you want to accomplish and how you are going to achieve these changes. You may set goals and timelines so that there is a systematic approach to the changes. You also set rules for engagement to help keep the focus on the plan, not the problems.


The third and final step offers actions. When you ask the question, “Which tells the true nature of a person or an organization, their words or actions?” almost universally, the answer is actions.

By this step, you or individuals within the organization should see renewed awareness. The goals and objectives are written out with timelines. Until awareness and words become actions, effective change cannot occur, either personally or organizationally.

Remember, it’s a process, it’s a process. The process of change management takes time and forward momentum to be effective.

management action

A misstep of any of these three steps fractures the process. Without awareness, plans reduce to a narrower view, possibly missing key options that could benefit you or the organization. When you do not discuss possible options, then you may lose valuable information that identifies what regulations or limitations impede goals, and miss new emerging ideas. Without actions, the genuine nature of individuals and organizations diminishes due to inactivity and dissonance with the words.

As you forge through these steps toward your goals, it is important to remind yourself and others, “It’s a process. It’s a process.” The change you create by maintaining these three steps helps you and your team to become even more effective for a game-changing season.


L Reed

Writer, researcher, and advisor for personal and organizational development. Dr. Reed has mentored people from a variety of organizations Her current literary contributions include an executive summary paperback, Fixing the Problem, Making changes in how you deal with challenges, book contributions, articles, and guest radio appearances, and a series of children's books with Abingdon Press. Her academic background includes a D.Min in Spirituality, Sustainability, and Inter-Religious Dialogue and a Master

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