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Why do some change initiatives fail while others succeed?

The answer is not as complex as you might think. Prosci's research with organizations from public and private sectors reveals that the secret behind successful transformations can be distilled into a simple yet powerful model described by the Prosci Change Triangle. We would like to present this model and help you assess if you have the necessary ingredients for success.

Think of the Prosci Change Triangle as a three-legged stool. The first leg is executive leadership. This leg represents the formulation of the strategy and direction for an organization, and the required leadership to set the necessary changes into motion. The second leg is project management. This leg represents the fundamentals of managing a project, including the design of work tasks and the management of resources to implement a change on time and on budget.

The final leg is change management – the people side of the change. This leg represents the actions taken by the organization to help employees transition from the current state to the desired future state.

In most cases when projects struggle or fail, one of these three critical elements is missing or weak. For example, absence of a clearly defined vision and strategy that align with the change creates 'priority-setting paralysis,' especially when multiple projects are competing for limited investment dollars and resources. Likewise, poorly defined changes that lack a clear future state or that have ineffective project management never gain traction. Finally, changes that fail to manage the people side of change encounter employee resistance that rob projects of their return on investment.