OCM and the Top 3 Reasons for Manager Engagement


OCM and the Top 3 Reasons for Manager Engagement


Organizational Change Management (OCM) is managing the “people side” of change to ensure a return on investment (ROI) on a given project.  One group of people that need to be engaged very early are first-line and middle managers.


Project work requires a lot of planning. Frequently, early on, it is assumed that managers are all ‘on board’ with the reasons why their organization’s senior leaders are investing in a particular enterprise software product.  However, managers are individuals in the change process, just like everyone else, and they need to be supported through the ADKAR change stages.  ADKAR stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement and is the fundamental model for project success, provided by Prosci, a firm dedicated to best practice research.[1]


Engaging Managers early on is important for three reasons.


  1. They need to understand the “why” of a change first, which is Awareness. Managers need to become aware of and understand reasons for the change. This understanding provides them a frame of reference from which to support and supplement communications that will come from their senior leadership and the OCM Communications team. Supporting communications can look like many things, including forwarding emails to their organizations and teams with the inclusion of an individual message of support and encouragement.
  2. They need to support the process of the “To Be” world, specifically in the way that it will impact the roles and responsibilities of their management team and direct reports.  Two universal key functions of management are to plan the work and then to organize it; this is the “what” and the “who”.  Managers need to be engaged early so that they can facilitate the roles and responsibility changes that inevitably come with enterprise software products.  This is part of understanding the future state of the organization and the way work will get done.
  3. They need to coach their direct reports, whether they are managers or individual contributors.  Coaching is the best method of support during transitions.  Individuals always have concerns that are personal in nature, and their first-line manager is the one they may trust the most to interpret and explain what is happening in their organization.


The lesson here is to plan for first-line and mid-level manager engagement early on during the OCM planning phase.  Managers who are not on board and do not support the organization’s need for change can inadvertently sabotage the project by cynicism and negativity, not realizing that they themselves are role models of change adoption and resiliency. Managers who are on board are the greatest lever for positive organizational changes that ultimately impact project outcomes.


[1] Reference:  https://www.prosci.com/