Change Enablement

What Is Change Enablement?

Change enablement, called change management, refers to providing people with the necessary information and support–alongside tools, processes, and strategies– to help them adapt and transition to change within an organization.

Whether it be crisis-driven change to avert disaster, transformation change, or organization-wide change to enable growth, the need for transition will impact every organization at some point. Change enablement helps organizations and teams successfully manage these changes.

But how do change enablement and change management differ?

Change Enablement vs. Change Management

While you can use the two terms interchangeably, there are nuanced differences between the two.

Change management involves a systematic approach to supporting employees and teams as an organization transitions to new processes, tools, or initiatives.

Change enablement is often described the same way; however, we can suss out the subtle differences this way. With change management, marching orders are top-down. While in change enablement, the call for change can come from any part of the organization. And while communication is one of the five steps of effective change management, it’s the cornerstone of effective change enablement.

In an Invgate article, Steve Manjaly explains the distinction this way:

“Change management always was a top-down mechanism, with an individual or a small group of individuals making the decisions. Often the rest of the company may not even be aware of the need for the change or even the end goal of the change. For them the changes were purely mechanical, just following the instructions without the authority to drive the change.”

Manjaly continues:

This is where change enablement comes in. Change enablement places a higher emphasis on clear company-wide communication. Employees are given the full picture, and explained the need for the change and how it will benefit all the stakeholders. Team members are empowered to make the changes, given more autonomy as well as the tools and training to implement the changes.”

Learn more about change management models.

Why Is Change Enablement Important?

Change by its very nature is disruptive. Large or small, any change within an organization can result in internal anxiety and resistance.

The biggest obstruction to change enablement is adoption.

According to McKinsey, “Failed technology projects cost the U.S. economy approximately $50-$150 billion annually, and 17 percent of those IT projects go so badly, they threaten the very existence of the company.”

Therefore, getting buy-in and adoption can be critical to an organization’s overall health and longevity.

At its core, change enablement is about getting people to accept and adapt to change. That’s why it’s essential that all changes are well-thought-out to ensure a successful outcome. You can measure success by how individuals accept the changes.

On the Improv blog, Toni Birdsong writes: “Rather than zero in on the results a new technology promises, change enablement focuses on helping people understand ‘the why’ behind the new technology and how that why trickles down personally to impact his or her day-to-day job.”

Manjaly at Invgate sums it up this way: “When every team member is empowered to make the changes when everyone is responsible for the change, the adoption rate tends to be high.”

The Essential Role of Roadmaps in Change Enablement

Communication is the cornerstone of change enablement. Without a plan to communicate a change and why it’s important to the business, a company is like a rudderless ship adrift on a vast ocean.

Change without a roadmap is destined for failure.

People need to understand why change matters—their role within an organization and the overall business. Moreover, you can’t just announce an impending change and expect people to run at it with open arms. If you remain resistant to change, the project may lead to failure.

And this is why successful change enablement hinges on effective communication.

A roadmap provides an overview of the deliverables and milestones that need to be delivered to support a business change.

Related terms: Change Management, Product Manager, Product Portfolio Manager, Platform Product Manager, Product Mix Strategy, Product Strategy, Lead Product Manager.